Friday night, February 10, 2017 brings the Full Snow Moon—as well as a penumbra lunar eclipse and the close approach of a comet. Get more details.
Read what Almanac astronomer Bob Berman has to say about this “triple treat” in this week’s Amazing Sky column, “Friday Night: Spectacle or Bust?”
Full Snow Moon
Hunting becomes very difficult, and so some Native American tribes called this the Hunger Moon. Other Native American tribes called this Moon the “Shoulder to Shoulder Around the Fire Moon” (Wishram Native Americans), the “No Snow in the Trails Moon” (Zuni Native Americans), and the “Bone Moon” (Cherokee Native Americans). The Bone Moon meant that there was so little food that people gnawed on bones and ate bone marrow soup.
See more about Full Moon names and their meanings.
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse
This year, there will also be a penumbral eclipse of the Moon. It begins at 5:34 p.m. on February 10 with best viewing at 7:44 p.m. This is a very subtle kind of eclipse which may appear like a darker-than-usual Moon. It’s easiest to view from the eastern portions of North America, as it will be too light in the western time zones.
Closest Comet in 30 Years
A few hours after the eclipse, Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková will make its closest approach. This flyby marks the closest a comet has comet to the Earth since 1983. Look to the east around 3 A.M. Saturday morning. The comet will have a bright blue-green “head” with a tail. Binoculars are recommended.
Moon Phases for February 2017
All dates and times are ET. See the Moon Phase Calendar for your city/state.
First Quarter: February 3, 11:19 P.M.
Full Moon: February 10, 7:33 P.M.
Last Quarter: February 18, 2:33 P.M.
New Moon: February 26, 9:58 A.M.
For your next full Moon, see our Full Moon Dates chart.
February Full Snow Moon Video
Each month, we will explain the traditional names of the Full Moon along with some fascinating Moon facts. In this video, learn about the Full Snow Moon, “Moon weather,” and the horns of the new crescent Moon. Click below to watch the video.
Best Days in February 2017
Below are the Best Days for activities based on the Moon’s sign and phase in February.
Aboveground crops: 7, 8, 26, 27
Belowground crops: 16, 17
For Setting Eggs:
5, 6, 13, 14
Moon Fact and Folklore
- February 6, 1971, Alan Shepard became the first man to hit a golf ball on the Moon.
- Did you know that the Moon’s diameter is 2,160 miles? This is less than the width of the United States (approximately 3,000 miles), and 0.27 of Earth’s diameter (7,926 miles).
- Wolves have howled at the Moon for centuries, yet it is still there.
- And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, they danced by the light of the Moon.
—Edward Lear, English poet (1812-88)
Share your thoughts about the Moon below!