blue moon in London
A full moon over north London Reuters

On Christmas day, we are set to be treated to a rare lunar phenomenon as the moon will complete its phase and be full on 25 December. It will be the first time since 1977 that we will have experienced a full moon on Christmas day.

Adding more significance to the occurrence, it will be the last full moon of 2015 and the last one that falls on Christmas day until 2034. This full moon is called the Full Cold Moon because it marks the start of winter.

Space agency Nasa says it will peak at 23:11GMT but UK stargazers could be disappointed. The weather forecast points to clouds and rain over Wales and the north west of England, but clouds will be thinner over the rest of the UK, meaning that the majority stand a chance – at least – of observing the Christmas moon.

This year has been a good one for lunar phenomena. In September, we experienced a rare supermoon and lunar eclipse combo. The last time we got to experience such a phenomenon was in 1982. The supermoon total lunar eclipse comes about when a supermoon – which occurs when the moon reaches its closest point to the earth due to its elliptical orbit – coincides with the almost perfect alignment of the moon, earth and sun, with our planet blocking the light from the star in our solar system.

Prior to this, in July there was the first blue moon since 2011. The rare phenomenon occurs when two full moons appear within the space of a calendar month. We had the first of our double dose on 1 July, with the second appearing on the final day.