A full moon illuminated Christmas this week, sending social media users abuzz.
Friday’s lunar show was the first full moon on Christmas in 38 years.
The moon was covered by clouds in a big chunk of the United States, but in places with clear skies it was quite the holiday treat.
Stojan Stojanovski photographed silhouettes standing in front of the full moon in Ohrid, Macedonia.
In T’boli, Philippines, Norman Dagang also captured the brilliant sphere. “It was exceptionally bright that time,” he said. “I thought it was a rare opportunity to take a photo of a full moon on Christmas.”
And in Kobe, Japan, Dennis Doucet, shared a photo of the lunar peak. “It was overcast for most of the evening, but there was a brief break in the clouds and I was able to get a clear shot of the moon,” he said.
Friday morning’s full moon was the first on Christmas since 1977. If you missed it, don’t fret. The moon appears fully lit from Earth every 29.5 days. And you won’t have to wait as long for the next full moon yule — 19 years from now, according to NASA.
Want to know more about the moon?
There’s more to the moon than its cycles. Here are five more interesting facts about the moon, according to NASA:
The moon’s surface is pocked with craters because, unlike Earth, it lacks an atmosphere to protect it from meteorites.
The maria, or “seas” of the moon (Sea of Tranquility, Sea of Crises, Sea of Nectar, etc.) are huge basins dark basalts left over from volcanic activity that occurred about 3.9 billion years ago.
The “dark side” of the moon is hidden from us because it takes the moon the same amount of time to complete one rotation on its axis as to orbit Earth once (27.3 days). The Soviets (Luna 3) captured the first images of the other hemisphere in 1959, and the Americans (Apollo 8) were first to see it with the naked eye in 1968. (Spoiler alert: more craters).
The moon helps stabilize Earth’s wobble on its axis, making it a more livable planet.
Temperatures dramatically fluctuate on the moon. It gets extremely hot and cold because it has no atmosphere to reflect or absorb the sun’s energy.