February's Super Snow Moon will be the most spectacular show of the season
Thankfully, most of us made it through January’s Super Blood Wolf Moon without sprouting fangs or tearing apart our best flannel shirts. February’s full moon will not be as eventful as January’s promised to be, but it will still be quite the spectacle. The February Super Snow Moon will peak at 10:53 a.m. EST on Tuesday, February 19th, and according to Alamanac.com, this upcoming super moon is going to be the best one we’ll see all year.
The moon will be at the closest point to Earth in its orbit (known as “perigee”) on February 19th, which means the Super Snow Moon will be the biggest and brightest full moon of 2019. Unless there’s a thick covering of clouds in your area, it will be pretty hard to miss the Super Snow Moon.
In 2019, January, February, and March all boast full super moons. But February’s takes the cake thanks to its proximity to Earth. Just how big will the Super Snow Moon look? Almanac.com reports that a super moon can appear about 7% greater in diameter than a full moon. And super moons can appear 15% brighter than any normal moon.
Like we said, the Super Snow Moon is not going to allow you to miss it. You might as well look up on Monday night—and Tuesday, too.
February’s full moon is called the Snow Moon because of the heavy snowfall that occurs in the Northern (and sometimes Southern) regions of the U.S. during February. But native peoples in various areas in the U.S. call February’s full moon by other names.
Wishram people of the Pacific Northwest call this moon “Shoulder to Shoulder Around the Fire Moon.” The Zuni people in the Southwest call it the “No Snow in the Trails Moon.” And the Cherokee of the Southeast call this moon the “Bone Moon,” because their people consumed bones or made marrow soup during the coldest month of the year when food was short. Other Northeastern tribespeople called February’s full moon the “Hunger Moon” for this same reason.
Viewing a supermoon during dusk or dawn is the best way to get a grasp on how big it truly looks. As it rises and sets on the horizon, it looks absolutely massive compared to the trees and buildings silhouetted against it.
Although the Super Snow Moon peaks in the daylight hours of Tuesday, February 19th, we’ll still be able to see a great show the night before, on Monday, February 18th. Make a point to head outside and look upward come nightfall to see the greatest super moon of 2019. And if you’re a real trooper, wake up at dawn on Tuesday to see an even more impressive sight as the moon begins to set in the west.
Even two weeks after the super moon peaks, we’ll still be tuned into a great cosmic show. In the weeks following February’s full moon, those of us with access to a completely dark sky (that is, a sky not polluted with city light) will be able to see a strange triangle of light in the western sky above where the sun just set.
This is “false dusk” or “zodiacal light,” a phenomenon during which sunlight reflects off 4.5 billion-year-old space dust.
The Super Snow Moon a big deal, people. You’re not going to want to miss it.