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Full Moon To Light Sleigh’s Way

Tue., Dec. 24, 1996

Rudolph, with his nose so bright, won’t need to guide Santa’s sleigh tonight: A rare Christmas Eve full moon will do the trick.

The first Christmas Eve full moon since 1950 - and the last one for 106 more years - offers a once-in-a-lifetime shot at spying the jolly big guy in the sky.

Barring bad weather, it promises to be the brightest Christmas Eve in the Northern Hemisphere in a half-century, says Jack Horkheimer, executive director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.

Because it comes just three days after the winter solstice, this full moon will hang higher in the sky than any other full moon this year, said Horkheimer.

A full moon is always at its highest point when the sun is at its lowest, which occurs on the first day of winter. Because of its position, the moon tonight won’t cast deep shadows, so it’ll look especially bright, Horkheimer said.

There won’t be another full moon on Christmas Eve until 2102, Horkheimer said.

But good luck spotting Santa in the Inland Northwest. A big snowstorm is forecast to hit this afternoon with up to a foot of new snow expected by Christmas Day.

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