December’s “Cold Moon”

Sunday, December 19, 2021 (January’s fullest moon [“Wolf Moon”] will rise on the 17th.)

The caption photo shows December’s rising nearly-fullest moon, on the eve prior to its reaching a point nearest to Earth. That moon was gorgeous in early evening’s sky.

I turned in the opposite direction, and saw sky colors above the South Sister Mountain. The streaks were from a lowering sun, settling behind the Cascades.

Even Bend’s Pilot Butte, ordinarily mundane, now captured some of light’s mysteries. That butte is a collapsed volcano, about a mile high and very visible. It seems to have existed forever. In the 1800s, Pilot Butte guided wagon travelers who sought pathways to various Oregon destinations. Many travelers continued westward, on to Valley and Coast locations. Some who settled near the Butte created the settlement of Bend.

Sometimes this small city feels larger than it is. Many locals including myself, often look for the Butte to determine current locations. From across town, the Butte’s visibility offers direction-identification and an approximate distance to ones home.

Last night, I arrived home late from work, couldn’t catch December’s fullest moon’s first rise over a dark horizon. Already, that moon was climbing and through clouds, nearly as dramatically as it might have been at earliest rising.

I rushed to get a camera and myself in place, to capture the moon’s rising through semi-dark clouds. By the time I was organized, the moon above turbulent clouds was on its own and lovely.

The Cold Moon is aptly-named for its year-end presence, and it’s also Earth’s “longest” full moon. Cold Moon’s higher trajectories across the sky keeps it sitting above the horizon for longer periods of time.

This month’s full Moon is considered a “micromoon”, or the opposite of a “Supermoon”. Supermoons are full moons that appear larger than typical full moons because they’re closer to Earth. In 2022, three Supermoons will appear, on Tuesday, June 14; Wednesday, July 15; and Friday, August 12.

Dear Readers: I hope to continue capturing fullest moons and marvelous skies. Diana

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