Viewing Guide: The Full Snow Moon of February

This weekend, look up at night to see the full moon in February. It can be seen all over the world.

It will be brightest at 1:29 p.m. ET on Sunday, but NASA says the moon will look full from early Saturday morning until early Tuesday morning.

EarthSky says that the full moon is a “micro moon” because it looks smaller than usual in our sky and is so far away in its orbit around Earth. The full moon in January was also a micro moon.

The Full Snow Moon of February

Even though the moon is 252,171 miles (405,830 km) away, it will still be very bright.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, it is called the snow moon because more snow falls in North America in February. A guide put together by Western Washington University says that the Arapaho name for the full moon in February means “frost sparkling in the sun.”

Wintry-sounding names for February’s full moon vary across other Native American tribes. The Comanche call it “sleet moon,” while the Lakota call it “cannapopa wi,” which means “when trees crack from cold.” The month was also linked to hunger and a lack of food sources, which is why the Kalapuya tribe called it “out of food” on the moon.

Europeans have called the full moon in February the Candles moon, which has to do with Candlemas, or the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ, which is on February 2. The moon is also a part of the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of the celebrations for the Lunar New Year.

The full moon happens in the middle of the month of Shevat and on the Hebrew holiday Tu BiShvat, which means “New Year of the Trees.” People plant trees and raise environmental awareness on this day.

Here are the rest of the essential sky events happening in 2023, so you can get your binoculars and telescope ready.

Full moons and supermoons

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

NASA says the second full moon in a month is called a “blue moon,” just like the phrase “once in a blue moon.” Most of the time, a full moon happens every 29 days. But most months on our calendar have 30 or 31 days, so the months and moon phases sometimes line up. This means that a blue moon happens about every 2 1/2 years.

On top of optical and near-infrared data from the Dark Energy Survey, data from SARAO’s MeerKAT radio telescope, which shows the strange radio circles in green, is laid down.
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EarthSky says that the two full moons in August can also be considered supermoons. Different people have different ideas about what a “supermoon” is, but in general, it is a full moon that is brighter and closer to Earth than usual, making it look bigger in the night sky.

Some astronomers say that this happens when the moon is about 90% of the way to perigee, which is when it is closest to Earth in orbit. EarthSky says that based on this definition, the full moon in July will also be a supermoon.

The Farmer’s Almanac lists the full moons that will still happen in 2023:

  • January 31: Full Wolf Moon
  • February 28: Full Snow Moon
  • March 28: Full Worm Moon
  • April 26: Full Pink Moon
  • May 26: Full Flower Moon
  • June 24: Full Strawberry Moon
  • July 24: Full Buck Moon
  • August 22: Full Sturgeon Moon
  • August 22: Full Corn Moon
  • September 20: Full Harvest Moon
  • October 19: Full Hunter’s Moon
  • November 17: Full Beaver Moon
  • December 17: Full Cold Moon

Note: The full moon dates may vary slightly based on time zone and location.

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