Snow moon expected to shine ‘very brightly’ in February. When to see it in the metro-east

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press file photo

The “Snow moon” will be visible from southwestern Illinois and St. Louis 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 Belleville?

The snow moon will reach peak illumination at 12:30 p.m. Central 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 Belleville at 5:23 p.m. Feb. 5 and set at 7:23 a.m. Feb. 6, the almanac reports. In St. Louis, the moon will rise at 5:24 p.m. and set at 7:25 a.m.

When to see 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:

  1. March 7: Worm moon

  2. April 6: Pink moon

  3. May 5: Flower moon

  4. June 3: Strawberry moon

  5. July 3: Buck supermoon

  6. Aug. 1: Sturgeon supermoon

  7. Aug. 30: Blue supermoon (appears biggest and brightest of the year)

  8. Sept. 29: Harvest supermoon

  9. Oct. 28: Hunter’s moon

  10. Nov. 27: Beaver moon

  11. Dec. 26: Cold moon

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