How to See the February Full Snow Moon

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Look up in the night sky this weekend for the February full moon, where it can be spotted around the world.

It will reach peak illumination around 1:29 p.m. ET on Sunday, but the moon will appear full from early Saturday morning to early Tuesday morning, according to NASA.

The full moon is considered a micromoon because it appears slightly smaller than normal in our sky due to its distant position in orbit around Earth at the moment, according to EarthSky. The January full moon was also a micromoon.

The moon will still be very bright even though it is 252,171 miles (405,830 kilometers) away.

It’s known as the Snow Moon, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, because February is associated with more snowfall in North America. The Arapaho tribe’s name for the February full moon means “sun-sparkling frost,” according to a guide compiled at Western Washington University.

Winter-sounding names for the February full moon vary among other Native American tribes. The Comanches call it sleet moon, while the Lakota know it as cannapopa wi, which means “when the trees creak from the cold.” The month was also associated with hunger and lack of food sources, hence the Kalapuya tribe’s name atchiulartadsh moon, or “out of food”.

Europeans called the February full moon the Candle Moon, connected with Candlemas on February 2, or the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ. The moon also occurs with the end of the Lunar New Year celebrations, which is the Lantern Festival.

The full moon falls in the middle of the month of Shevat and the holiday of Tu BiShvat on the Hebrew calendar, or “New Year of Trees”, which is celebrated by planting trees and raising environmental awareness.

Here are the rest of the best celestial events of 2023, so you can get your binoculars and telescope ready.

Most years there are 12 full moons – one for each month. But in 2023, there will be 13 full moons, including two in August.

The second full moon in a month is known as a blue moon, like the phrase “once in a blue moon,” according to NASA. Typically, full moons occur every 29 days. But most months in our calendar are 30 or 31 days long, so the months and moon phases don’t always line up, resulting in a blue moon roughly every 2½ years.

August’s two full moons can also be considered supermoons, according to EarthSky. Definitions of a supermoon vary, but the term generally refers to a full moon that is brighter and closer to Earth than normal and therefore appears larger in the night sky.

Some astronomers say the phenomenon occurs when the moon is less than 90% of perigee – its closest approach to Earth in orbit. Under this definition, the July full moon will also be considered a supermoon event, according to EarthSky.

Here is the list of remaining full moons for 2023, according to the Farmer’s Almanac:

  • March 7: Worm Moon
  • April 6: Pink Moon
  • May 5: Flower Moon
  • June 3: Strawberry Moon
  • July 3: Buckmoon
  • August 1: Sturgeon Moon
  • August 30: Blue Moon
  • September 29: Harvest Moon
  • October 28: Hunter’s Moon
  • November 27: Beaver Moon
  • December 26: Cold Moon

These are the popularized names associated with the monthly full moons, but each has its own meaning in Native American tribes (many also being referred to by different names).

Mark your calendar with the peak meteor shower dates to watch for in 2023:

  • Lyrids: April 22-23
  • Eta Aquariids: May 5-6
  • Southern Delta Aquariids: July 30-31
  • Alpha Capricornids: July 30-31
  • Perseids: August 12-13
  • Orionids: October 20-21
  • Southern Taurids: November 4-5
  • Northern Taurids: November 11-12
  • Leonids: November 17-18
  • Geminids: December 13-14
  • Ursids: December 21-22

If you live in an urban area, you might want to drive to somewhere that isn’t full of city lights to see the showers. If you manage to find an area unaffected by light pollution, meteors could be visible every two minutes from late evening until dawn, depending on what part of the world you are in.

Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look up. And give your eyes about 20-30 minutes to adjust to the dark – without looking at your phone – so the meteors are easier to spot.

There will be two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses in 2023.

A total solar eclipse will occur on April 20, visible to those in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and Antarctica. This kind of event occurs when the moon moves between the sun and the Earth, blocking the sun.

And for some skywatchers in Indonesia, parts of Australia and Papua New Guinea, it will be a hybrid solar eclipse. The curvature of the Earth’s surface can cause some eclipses to switch between total and annular as the moon’s shadow moves across the globe, according to NASA.

Like a total solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth during an annular eclipse — but this happens when the moon is at or near its furthest point from Earth, according to NASA. This makes the moon appear smaller than the sun so it doesn’t completely block our star and creates a bright ring around the moon.

An annular solar eclipse sweeping across the Western Hemisphere will occur on October 14 and will be visible across the Americas.

Be sure to wear appropriate eclipse glasses to view solar eclipses safely because sunlight can be harmful to the eyes.

Meanwhile, a lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon when the sun, Earth, and moon align and the moon passes into Earth’s shadow. When this happens, the Earth casts two shadows on the Moon during the eclipse. The partial outer shade is called the penumbra; the full, dark shadow is the shadow.

As the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it will darken, but it will not disappear. Instead, sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere brightens the moon dramatically, turning it red – which is why the event is often called a “blood moon.”

Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it may be a rusty red or a brick color. This happens because blue light experiences stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color brought out when sunlight passes through the atmosphere and shines it onto the moon.

A penumbral lunar eclipse will occur on May 5 for those in Africa, Asia, and Australia. This less dramatic version of a lunar eclipse occurs when the moon moves through the penumbra, or the faint outer part of Earth’s shadow.

A partial lunar eclipse of the hunter’s moon on October 28 will be visible to those in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, parts of North America and much of the South America. Partial eclipses occur when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are not completely aligned, so only part of the Moon passes into shadow.


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