Start of winter, a full moon and a meteor shower

Start of winter, a full moon and a meteor shower

It will come with a full moon in the sky. While we in Chewelah are seeing the shortest days of the year, those in the southern hemisphere are seeing the longest.

The solstice happens when Earth's northern hemisphere is tilted farthest away from the sun.

It has been closely associated with the sun as Stonehenge aligns with the sunset and sunrise on both the summer (longest day of the year) and winter solstice. As the solstice has begun, we can not wait to view the big, bright and full moon of December 2018. This time it is even more special since skywatchers will also have an opportunity to witness a Full moon and meteor shower. The Sun will be directly above the Tropic of Capricorn at noon, marking the longest day in the southern hemisphere.

On the Google home page is an animated Google Doodle, logo, for the first day of Winter - the Winter Solstice.

In China, where they call the Winter Solstice Dongzhi Festival, people enjoy rice balls called tang yuan, which translates to "family reunion". Illumination of 98 percent or more appears as a full moon. This will happen again in 2029. The December full moon is called the "cold moon". According to NASA, at 2:31 a.m. EST on December 21, the moon will share the same celestial longitude as Aldebaran, an occurrence known as a conjunction.

In Maine, much smaller winter solstice celebrations take place around the state, such as Harpswell Heritage Land Trust's Winter Solstice Lantern Walk, the Maine Audubon Winter Solstice Celebration with Spirit Passages at Gilsland Farm in Falmouth, and the Belfast Unitarian Universalist Church Winter Solstice event.

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Experts reckon the best time to see the shooting stars will be in the early hours of Saturday morning, when it's darkest.

The Ursid meteor shower will peak on Friday night.

The website In the Sky has a great feature that helps you figure out where to watch and how many meteors you might see.

In the south, it's just the reverse though.

One caveat: That Cold Moon will be so bright that it could outshine some of the meteors as they streak in, making them harder to spot.

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