7:30 AM 7th February 2020
Are You Ready For The Snow Moon This Weekend?
The full moon in February will be called a snow moon and some astronomy experts say it will be a supermoon and one of the biggest moons of the year, but others disagree and say that the first supermoon of 2020 will be on 9 March. So sky watchers get ready and decide for yourself.
It is called a snow moon because it appears during one of the coldest periods of the year, along with heavy snowfall or when there is snow on the ground in February.
Some Native American tribes gave the February moon the name of Hunger Moon because of the scarce food resources and difficult winter hunting conditions.
The February Snow moon will peak on Sunday 9 February but you can probably see it in the sky for a couple of days either side of the peak, that is if the sky stays cloud-free.
What is a supermoon?
Supermoon - photo by Rob Harris
A supermoon is when you look up at the night sky and the full moon looks so close you feel as if you could almost touch it, although sometimes the difference is hard to spot with the naked eye.
This is called a moon illusion as the full moon appears much larger when it rises behind a distant object on the horizon.
When the moon is closest to the earth a supermoon occurs. A supermoon will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual. A supermoon looks especially large when rising and setting.
The moon will be 30,000 miles closer than usual. It sounds a lot, but the average distance between the earth and moon is 238,900 miles, so it’s not that huge a difference.
Traditional Full Moon Names 2020
January 10 - Wolf Moon
February 9 - Snow Moon
March 9 - Worm Moon
April 7 - Pink Moon
May 7 - Flower Moon
June 5 - Strawberry Moon
July 5 - Buck Moon
August 3 - Sturgeon Moon
September 2 - Corn Moon
October 1 - Harvest Moon
October 31 - Blue Moon
November 30 - Beaver Moon
December 29 - Cold Moon
Many of these ancient moon names have been given based on the behaviour of the plants, animals, or weather during that month.
It is said that they were the names given by Native American tribes and included into our modern calendar. However the Full Moon names we now use also have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.
The next full moon will rise on 9 March and is the Worm Moon. This will be a supermoon.