The first full moon to occur on the winter solstice, Dec. 22, commonly called the first day of winter, happened in 1999. Since a full moon on the winter solstice occurred in conjunction with a lunar perigee (point in the moon's orbit that is closest to Earth), the moon appeared about 14% larger than it does at apogee (the point in it's elliptical orbit that is farthest from the Earth). Since the Earth is also several million miles closer to the sun at that time of the year than in the summer, sunlight striking the moon was about 7% stronger making it brighter. Also, this was the closest perigee of the Moon of the year since the moon's orbit is constantly deforming. In places where the weather was clear and there was a snow cover, even car headlights were superfluous.

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