The next full moon is expected to shine ‘very brightly.’ When to see it in Lexington
The “Snow moon” will be visible from Central Kentucky in early February, and although it will be far from Earth, it should still appear “especially bright.”
Indigenous peoples from what is now the northern and eastern U.S. called it the Snow moon or Hunger moon, NASA reported in a 2017 article.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac reports the Snow moon gets its name due to typically heavy snowfall in February. The Hunger moon name refers to the wintry period where food was usually scarce.
The Snow moon will be 2023’s second and last micromoon, according to Earthsky.org. Its distance from Earth will be 252,171 miles compared to the average distance of 237,700, the site reports.
“While a micromoon can appear up to 14% smaller than a supermoon — thus appearing less bright than a supermoon — this February 2023 full moon still will shine very brightly,” Earthsky.org says. “It’ll appear especially bright because the leaves are off the deciduous trees now. And if snow covers the ground where you are, the moon will look brighter still.”
Earthsky.org suggests most viewers who are not particularly experienced cannot distinguish between a micromoon, an ordinary full moon and a supermoon, though experts may be able to spot the difference.
When can you see the Snow moon in Lexington?
The Snow moon will reach peak illumination at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Sunday, Feb. 5, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. But because it will be below the horizon in the afternoon, it might be better to look the night of Feb. 4 or later in the day Feb. 5.
The moon will rise in Lexington at 6:02 p.m. Feb. 5 and set at 7:59 a.m. Feb. 6, the almanac reports.
Astronomy fans can join the Bluegrass Amatuer Astronomy Club for monthly stargazing gatherings, which are held March to October at Raven Run Nature Sanctuary. There may be a $1 charge for members of the public.
The next Raven Run stargazing event will be held March 18, weather permitting.
More full moons in 2023
If you miss the Snow moon in early February, you’ll have 11 more chances to see a full moon in 2023. Four will be supermoons, and one will be a blue moon.
The first full moon of 2023 was the Wolf moon, which peaked in early January.
Here’s the rest of this year’s full moon calendar, with information from Space.com:
March 7: Worm moon
April 6: Pink moon
May 5: Flower moon
June 3: Strawberry moon
July 3: Buck supermoon
Aug. 1: Sturgeon supermoon
Aug. 30: Blue supermoon (appears biggest and brightest of the year)
Sept. 29: Harvest supermoon
Oct. 28: Hunter’s moon
Nov. 27: Beaver moon
Dec. 26: Cold moon
Rare comet not seen for 50,000 years will be visible from Lexington soon. When to look
Do you have a question about the night sky over Kentucky for our service journalism team? We’d like to hear from you. Fill out our Know Your Kentucky form or email email@example.com.