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A massive 'full cold moon' will illuminate Metro Vancouver skies this week

In addition to one of the most productive meteor showers of the year, Vancouverites will also be privy to a brilliant 'full cold moon' this December.
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 Photo: full moon / shutterstockPhoto: full moon / shutterstock

In addition to one of the most productive meteor showers of the year, Vancouverites will also be privy to a brilliant 'full cold moon' this December.

While the moon has been traditionally known as the 'cold moon,' it is also known by a number of other names. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, some Native American groups call it the 'long nights moon,' because it occurs near the winter solstice—the day with the least amount of daylight.

The name 'cold moon' became associated with the December full moon due to the month's frosty winter weather.

The full moon is set to rise in the evening on Wednesday, Dec. 11, but it won't be at its fullest until the wee hours of the morning on Thursday.

The Geminid meteor shower takes place throughout the night on Dec. 13, and stargazers will be privy to a breathtaking display. While a number of meteor showers are only viewable for a short window of time very late at night or in the early morning, the Geminids offer a rare, full-night viewing opportunity. Find out more here.

Stargazers should opt to travel as far away from city lights as possible in order to avoid light pollution that will obscure the clarity of heavenly bodies. While this works best the in more remote places, anywhere that has a higher elevation will also provide more ideal viewing conditions.