'Cold Moon' aka 'Oak Moon' makes rare Christmas appearance

There will be no need for Rudolph’s red shiny nose this year — Santa Claus will have all the light he needs from a rare full moon on Christmas Eve.

Jacksonville’s Rudy Hatle is only 9 years old, but she has wanted to be an astronomer since she was 5. She believes the timeliness of the lunar cycle will create unity around the world.

“It’s going to be really awesome because it’s a holiday," Hatle said. "It’s supposed to bring families together."

In folklore, it’s called the “Oak Moon” or the “Cold Moon” because it happens during the beginning of the winter season in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, it’s the talk of social media around the world.

Eddie Whisler,  the Director of Planetarium and School Programs at the Museum of Science & History in downtown Jacksonville, says it’s a big deal this holiday season.

“Everybody’s excited about space [right now],” Whisler said. “What’s No. 1 at the box office right now? Star Wars.

“You’re going to be able to go out on Christmas and look at a full moon. So in that way, it’s priceless.”

To catch the Cold Moon at its peak, be sure to look up around 6 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 25. It’ll rise again about 12 hours later.

Just in case you miss the full moon on Friday, you’ll get another chance to see something cool on Tuesday, Dec. 29. About a half-hour after sunset, Mercury will be well-placed for observation in the Western sky.