The longest full moon of the year will hit this weekend

As the longest night of the year approaches, stargazers are about to be offered a chance to take in the spectacular Cold Moon.

With pubs and bars currently an unattractive prospect, why not spend your evening gazing up at the sky, taking in the beautiful full moon?

With winter well and truly set in, and Christmas just around the corner, this month's full moon promises to be particularly atmospheric.

So why not wrap up warm with a cup of mulled wine and enjoy an evening under this exquisite lunar happening.

Read on to find out all you need to know including its time and naming origin…

What is the Cold Moon?

The Cold Moon is the longest full moon of the calendar year as it arrives when the nights are the longest.

Named 'Cold' by native Americans who are credited with the naming of many of the monthly full moons, it will be the final one of 2021.

On its website, NASA says on its website: “As the full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice, this will be the Long Night Moon.

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“The plane of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth nearly matches the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. When the path of the Sun appears lowest in the sky for the year, the path of the full Moon opposite the Sun appears highest in the sky.”

When to see the Cold Moon

The Cold Moon 2021 will reach its peak at 4.35 am on December 19. Three days later the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere – will arrive.

With the sun going down shortly before 4 pm and not coming up again until gone 8 am, there should be plenty of opportunities for everyone to catch a glimpse of this impressive lunar event.

Due to its proximity to the horizon, the sky creates an illusion called the Moon Illusion, this month's full moon will seem particularly big.

Your brain gets tricked into thinking you can see something disproportionality large in comparison to the other things on the horizon.

While there is no clear answer to what causes it, NASA believe the illusion is based on the human mind's perception of the world and scale.

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The Met Office has reported that the north of England and Scotland can expect the clearest skies.

When is the next full moon?

The next full moon will take place on January 17, 2022. This moon is expected at 11.48 pm and is known as the Wolf Moon.

You'll have to wait until next December (2022), for the next Cold Moon, however.

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