For the first time since 1977, Christmas night will be illuminated by a full moon. It will happen again in 2034 as it is a very uncommon occurrence. The moon and eclipse expert at NASA, Fred Espenak said the full moon will reach its brighter point on December 25 at 6:11 a.m. EST.
The beautiful phenomenon will occur just three days after the winter solstice on December 22, which is the moment when the Northern Hemisphere will be pointed at its furthest distance from the sun and colder temperatures develop.
Fred Espenak from NASA invited everyone to take a look at the calendar published in his twitter account @FEspenak, which features four solar eclipses and lunar eclipses that will occur in 2016. He also published a concise summary of astronomical events that will take place on December.
Moon names in the U.S.
According to space.com, full moons of the year have unique names since Native Americans habited the lands. The tribes used to track the seasons by giving different names to each full moon.
One curious example is the name given to May’s full moon, which is Full Flower Moon as flowers are abundant everywhere.
When a full moon occurs on December it’s called the Yuletide Moon, the Oak Moon, Full Long Night’s Moon or the Cold Moon, due to colder temperatures.
Midnight Sun in the North Pole
When the winter solstice occurs on December 22, another interesting phenomenon develops in the North Pole, where the midnight sun takes place. In that moment, the sun is visible for 24 hours.
As a consequence, in several places in the Antarctic Circle midnight twilight is experienced, so people can enjoy daytime activities on a perfectly clear night.
Google Lunar XPRIZE
Recently, Moon Express, a firm from Silicon Valley, declared a contract with Rocket Lab, a company which mission is to remove the barriers to commercial space.
Electron rocket, a project developed by Rocket Lab, will launch Moon Express’ MX-1E micro-lander to the moon in 2017. According to the high-tech company created in New Zealand, they are redefining how we access space.
They wrote in a statement that Electron can rapidly deliver small satellites to commercial orbits at world-first price and frequency.
The launch will be part of Google’s competition, XPRIZE, which was created to impulse space access from private companies. The race, created in 2007, have inspired the next generation of scientists, engineers, space explorers and adventurers, Google declared.
Google also stated that Lunar XPRIZE wanted to incentivize space entrepreneurs to create a new era of affordable access to the Moon and beyond. $30 million will be the prize. The amount will be given to teams that could land a privately funded rover on the moon by 2017. 90 percent of costs need to be from private sources. Rovers will need to travel 1,640 feet and transmit back high definition video and images.
Moon Express aims to mine rare elements from the moon, platinum group metals, Helium-3 and Moon rocks. The company declared in a statement published in its official website that the Moon was the Eighth Continent,
“We believe it’s critical for humanity to become a multi-world species and that our sister world, the Moon, is an eighth continent holding vast resources than can help us enrich and secure our future. The Moon is unique in that its surface has remained relatively constant over billions of years,” Moon Express declared.
Source: ABC News