- Karl Thunemann
Winter Solstice and the Full Moon
In Summer, because of that tilt Earth’s northern latitudes receive the full brunt of the Sun’s light. In
Winter, sunlight is reduced; the Sun itself is not as visible. At Winter Solstice (Dec 21st , 22nd , or 23rd ,
usually), the daytime period during which we can see the Sun is shorter than at any other time of year.
If there is a full moon at Winter Solstice, we can see it longer on that day – which Europeans call the
Long Night Moon -- than on any other full moon day.
So full moon at Winter Solstice has had a very special significance in many cultures. We are as tilted
away from the Sun as we will ever be, all gravitational forces being equal, and the full moon is exactly
180⁰ opposite the Sun. At Winter Solstice the Sun, as our ancestors noted with some concern, was at its
lowest point. While we can determine the exact moment of Winter Solstice, when we are at maximum
tilt, to the unassisted eye the Sun appears to be stuck in that lowest position for three or four days.
And the Full Moon at Winter Solstice also appears to be full for about three days.