What Is a Full Cold Moon? Everything to Know About the Supermoon

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The moon sets during its closest orbit to the Earth since 1948 on November 14, 2016 in Venice Beach, California. The so-called Supermoon appears up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter as it comes about 22,000 miles closer to the Earth than average, though to the casual observer, the increase appears slight. Christopher Polk/Getty Images

The first and only supermoon of 2017 has arrived—and here's how you can watch it via livestream from across the globe on Sunday night. While you've most likely heard the term supermoon before, "cold moon" may not be as familiar; what is it?

Sunday's brighter and larger than normal moon gets its name "Full Cold Moon," for a reason that's much more obvious than you may realize, but it's very fitting.

"The Cold Moon gets its name because December is the month when it really starts to get cold, although our coldest average temperatures are in January," according to NASA.

"Cold Moon" is a much less applicable name for the Southern Hemisphere, where it's currently summer. The Māori—Indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand—used names to match both the moon and the lunar month. In November and December they use the word Hakihea, which means "birds are now sitting in their nests," according to The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

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Clouds clear to allow a view of the final full moon of the year, a so-called 'Cold Moon', as it appears behind lights illuminating Penzance seafront on December 13, 2016 in Cornwall, England. The last full moon of the year was also the final supermoon of 2016. The natural phenomenon occurs when the perigee (closest approach by the Moon to Earth) coincides with it being full (completely illuminated by the Sun). Matt Cardy/Getty Images

December's full moon is also sometimes called a Full Long Nights Moon, Space.com reports. Both of the aforementioned names are ancient and relate to the cold weather and long, dark nights of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, according to timeanddate.com. Another name that's popular among Europeans is "Moon before Yule," which was derived from the Anglo-Saxons.

"Yule is an old northern European winter festival that is now associated with Christmas," NASA reports.

December's full moon was also once referred to as Wolf Moon, but now that name is much more common for January's full moon. The name comes from the animals that gathered on Native American properties.

"Amid the cold temperatures and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Native American villages. The Full Wolf Moon is also known as the Old Moon and the Moon after Yule," Space.com reports.

Many of the names used to indicate specific full moons refer to important aspects of Native American culture. For example, November's full moon was called "Full Beaver Moon," referring to an important animal among tribes in the winter months.

"This was the time of year when the old Native American tribes set beaver traps, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs before the swamps froze," according to Space.com. "Another interpretation suggests that the name Beaver Full Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now active in their preparation for winter."