2024 February Full Moon

“The full snow moon will rise to see what once were fields of hay, She’ll gaze upon the barren rows, snowed in from yesterday.  She’ll share here night with stars ablaze, yet spreading little heat …”  From “The Full Snow Moon …” by Joy A Burki-Watson

February’s full Snow Moon occurs on the 24th at 7:30A.M. EST.  By this time the Moon has set and is below the horizon. But we won’t miss it because it’ll look full and bright on the evenings of the 23rd, 24th, and 25th.   This Snow Moon is a micromoon.  Like the term supermoon, micromoon is a trendy internet term for what astronomers call an apogee full Moon which is when the full Moon happens when the Moon is farthest from Earth during its orbit. Micromoons, and supermoons, occur because the Moon’s orbit is elliptical making the Moon sometimes closer to Earth and sometimes farther away.  A micromoon appears slightly smaller and less bright than a typical full Moon. However, these differences are so small the eye doesn’t notice them.  This Moon is also the Lenten Moon – the first full Moon before the spring equinox and the last full Moon of Winter.

Traditionally February’s Full Moon is called the Snow Moon because February can be a very snowy month. There are many other cold names for this Moon including the Mahican people’s Deep Snow Moon and the Abenaki people’s Makes Branches Fall in Pieces Moon.  Farther south where the temperature is starting to warm the Comanche call it the Sleet Moon.  Moon names also reflect February as a time of scarcity and hunger.  The Choctaw call this the Moon of Big Famine. The Pacific Northwest Kalapuya people call it Out of Food Moon and the Cherokee call it the Hungry Moon.  Animal names are also given to the February Moon. The Tlingit people call this Moon the Black Bear Moon, and the Ojibwe call it the When Bear Cubs are Born Moon.  The Haida call it the Goose Moon and the Omaha call it the Moon When Geese Come Home.

Strap your snowshoes on and go out to enjoy this year’s Snow Moon!

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