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Friday, December 25, 2015, 13:00

Merry Moon: Rare full moon on Christmas Day

By Associated Press
Merry Moon: Rare full moon on Christmas Day

An airplane crosses a nearly full-moon on its way to Los Angeles International Airport near Whittier, Calif., Dec 24, 2015. Not since 1977 has a full moon dawned in the skies on Christmas. (AP Photo / Nick Ut)

PHILADELPHIA - Gaze up into the sky and you'll see something rare. And, no, it won't be Santa. He and his reindeers will have already zoomed across the horizon.

On Christmas Day, there will be a full moon, the first since 1977. It will reach its peak at 6:11 a.m. EST.

This full moon, the last one for 2015, is called a Full Cold Moon because it happens during the start of winter. Of course "cold" is relative these days. On the balmy US East Coast, some people will be tempted to celebrate the holiday in shorts and flip flops, more like Hawaiians.

NASA has a spacecraft currently orbiting the Earth's moon. Its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission has been investigating the moon's surface since 2009. The space agency says the mission has collected a "treasure trove of data" and is "making an invaluable contribution to our knowledge about the moon."

A full moon on Christmas won't happen again until 2034, nearly two decades from now, NASA said. So, unless you have a very good memory, you might want to look up at the sky on Friday and marvel at the moon's magnificence.

Merry Moon: Rare full moon on Christmas Day

The nearly-full moon is seen among Christmas lights at a holiday display Dec 24, 2015, in Lenexa, Kan. When the moon turns full, at 5:11am cst., it will be the first full moon to fall on Christmas day since 1977. Named the Long Night Moon because it's the first full moon to follow the winter solstice, it's also known as the Cold Moon. (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)

Merry Moon: Rare full moon on Christmas Day

A full moon seen through decorations in Oktyabrskaya Square, decorated to mark the upcoming Christmas and New Year celebrations in Minsk, Belarus, Dec 24, 2015. (AP Photo / Sergei Grits)

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