The final full moon of 2023 has risen and set over Earth in form of December's aptly named "Cold Moon."
With the full moon on Tuesday (Dec. 26), skywatchers and astrophotographers weren't going to let obstacles like Christmas Day hangovers — or frigid temperatures of a cold December night — stop them from capturing some truly awe-inspiring images of the Cold Moon from around the globe.
Here are just a few of those December full moon images that were shared online and across social media, serving as a festive feast for the eyes.
Though all of the following Cold Moon images are stunning, one December full moon image is truly out of this world. Captured from Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Monday (Dec. 25), the picture not only shows the moon in stunning detail, but also features the tiny shadow of the Chinese Tiangong space station as it transits the lunar face.
Closer to home, the Cold Moon took on a surprisingly warm orangey/red hue, also appearing to be stunningly large as it rose behind the San Mateo Bridge across San Francisco Bay in California.
December's Cold Moon looked slightly chillier with a more familiar yellow glimmer, when it was spotted rising behind the 100-storey tall EdgeNYC observation deck in New York City in an image taken from nearby New Jersey.
Manhattan Bird Alert shared a suitably chilly image of the Cold Moon on X (formerly Twitter), frostily shining through winter fog and illuminating the sky over Central Park, also in New York City.
Tonight's full Cold Moon as fog spread over Central Park. pic.twitter.com/4eMJhCFa2tDecember 27, 2023
The Cold Moon was also shrouded by fog in an image of the Empire State Building and midtown Manhattan by X user Gary Hershorn, taken on Tuesday evening.
The full Cold Moon rising behind midtown Manhattan and the Empire State Building on a foggy night in New York City, Tuesday #newyorkcity #nyc #newyork @empirestatebldg #moon #ColdMoon pic.twitter.com/Lse8TIVjugDecember 26, 2023
The fog and clouds were almost too much in Spokane, Washington, to allow X user Young Kwak to catch an image of the full moon. The photographer was able to catch a glimpse of the Cold Moon before it vanished behind cloud cover.
Full Cold Moon and clouds, Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023, in Spokane, Wash. pic.twitter.com/gIafYWujLcDecember 27, 2023
Also on X, self-described astronomy lover and photographer Jennifer Rose Lane shared some incredible images of the December Cold Moon from West Virginia.
The full "cold" moon Tuesday night 🌕 #WV #FullMoon #ColdMoon @StormHour @ThePhotoHour @MoonHourSocial @WSAZBrandon @SpencerWeather @JoshFitzWx pic.twitter.com/VdT5os9zXYDecember 27, 2023
In the UK, Tuesday marked the traditional bank holiday of Boxing Day. But that didn't stop skywatchers in England, Scotland, Wales and northern Ireland from catching some incredible full moon images.
The moon was seen with a foreboding red glow over one of England's most famous landmarks, Stonehenge in Wiltshire, in an image shared on the monument's X feed.
Boxing Day's Full Cold Moon setting at Stonehenge 😍🥊🥶🌝🌕🌙 Photo credit Stonehenge Dronescapes #fullmoon #cold #coldmoon #moon #fullcoldmoon #stonehenge #astro #astrophotography #landscape #Christmas #boxingday pic.twitter.com/DpjUCiPjikDecember 26, 2023
In Scotland, the Cold Moon was captured as it reflected in the gently rippling waters of Loch Leven National Nature Reserve, located in Kinross.
December's full moon was imaged in daylight as it rose behind a hillside occupied by Rocca Calascio castle and village in Calascio, Italy, with the lunar face visible in striking detail.
In Istanbul, Turkey, the Cold Moon was pictured as it rose over an important cultural and religious site: the stunning architecture of the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque.
The Cold Moon was also captured dimly shimmering over Ninova in Mosul, Iraq.
If these incredible full moon images have got you eager to capture the next fully illuminated lunar face for yourself, you won't have to wait too long. The next full moon — and the first full moon of the coming year — is the Wolf Moon, which rises on Jan. 25, 2024.
And whether you want to image the moon or to explore the night sky in general, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon, as well as our recommendations for the best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography.
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Robert Lea is a science journalist in the U.K. whose articles have been published in Physics World, New Scientist, Astronomy Magazine, All About Space, Newsweek and ZME Science. He also writes about science communication for Elsevier and the European Journal of Physics. Rob holds a bachelor of science degree in physics and astronomy from the U.K.’s Open University. Follow him on Twitter @sciencef1rst.
This is the rare 13th full moon of the year. FYI, in anticipation of the December release of his new 'I/O' album, Peter Gabriel released one of the tracks with an animated video - at every full moon in 2023, excepting this one of course.Admin said:The final full moon of 2023, the Cold Moon, rose on Dec. 26. Skywatchers around the globe were primed and ready to capture some fantastic images of the fully illuminated lunar face.
See December's Full Cold Moon shine in the sky like a Christmas ornament (photos) : Read more
The 12/26/23 pic of the full moon in Istanbul, Turkey appears to be a moonset in the west, not a moonrise in the east.Reply