Rudolph can stay home and watch late-night television Christmas Eve. Santa will not be needing his nose so bright this year.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration says that for the first time since 1977 there will be a full moon for Christmas.
Stories always suppose that the moon will be full, and popular commercials show Santa, his sleigh and reindeer crossing in front of the full moon.
The classic “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” even says “The moon, on the breast of the new-fallen snow, gave a luster of midday to objects below.
But such a sky display is unusual.
Says NASA: “This rare event won’t happen again until 2034. That’s a long time to wait, so make sure to look up to the skies on Christmas Day.”
Technically the full moon is exactly at 5:11 a.m. Costa Rican time. By that hour Santa should be enjoying a hot foot bath with a little Ben-Gay thrown in.
The average viewer will not see the difference hours before or even Christmas night.
December’s full moon, the last of the year, is called in the north the full cold moon
because it occurs during the beginning of winter, NASA reports.
Costa Rica lacks the snow to produce a luster of midnight, but the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean and in some places wet tropical jungle leaves make a good substitute.
The moon reflects the light of the sun and sometimes even earthlight, so the sky show will be impressive.
Even more impressive is the moon up close and personal. That won’t be possible for some years yet, but NASA has a spacecraft currently orbiting Earth’s moon. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission has been investigating the lunar surface since 2009, the agency notes. And the craft has produced some impressive photos.