The moon, buoyant on South Florida’s warm morning mist, will swell to full on Christmas Day, a rare holiday pageant not seen since 1977.
And the confluence of this lunar cycle and December 25 won’t happen again until 2034.
“We get one full moon a month, so there is about a 1 in 30 chance to get a full moon on any specific day and this year it comes up on the 25th, so that’s kind of cool,” said Noah Petro, deputy research scientist for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. “It’s not something that happens every year.”
NASA calculates the moon will become full at precisely 6:11 a.m. Christmas morning – the moment it is 180 degrees opposite the sun.
With first light still a half hour away, and sunrise not until 7:07 a.m., nature’s nightlight will still be bright, offering a moment of peace before Christmas Day commences.
In Palm Beach County, the skies may be partly covered in clouds as the day is forecast for a 20 percent chance of rain and a high temperature Christmas Day topping 80 degrees.
The last time the moon was full on Dec. 25 was the year Star Wars debuted, Space Mountain opened at Disneyland in California, and snow fell in Miami following a freak cold front on Jan. 19.
Read about the strawberry and worm moon here.
December’s moon will still be mostly full Christmas evening.
“After people have opened their presents and eaten dinner, they can go out and look at the moon and know for thousands of years people have looked at the moon and seen the same thing,” Petro said.