First Christmas full moon in almost 40 years tonight

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Image: Shannon Leigh Photography / Flickr

Skywatchers tonight in Metro Vancouver should look out for both Santa’s sleigh and the first full moon on Christmas since 1977. And it won’t happen again until 2034.

“As we look at the moon on such an occasion, it’s worth remembering that the moon is more than just a celestial neighbour,” said John Keller, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in a statement. “The geologic history of the moon and Earth are intimately tied together such that the Earth would be a dramatically different planet without the moon.”

In Vancouver, the moon will reach its peak size at 3:11 a.m. on Christmas Day.

Of course, the bright view of the celestial event is weather permitting. The forecast for tonight calls for cloud cover, with light rainfall at lower elevations and wet snow at higher elevations.

Snowfall is already happening in the upper elevations of parts of the region. On Friday, Christmas Day, skies will begin to clear in the afternoon and a high of 5°C is expected.

While some areas in Metro Vancouver will experience a ‘White Christmas’, the same cannot be said for much of the East Coast, which is experiencing temperatures far above seasonal. The ice rink at Nathan Phillips Square at Toronto City Hall in downtown Toronto has melted: Temperatures in the city reached 17°C by early afternoon.

And in New York City, crowds in the streets are wearing t-shirt, shorts, and sandals as temperatures reached 20°C today. Similar weather is expected for tomorrow.

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