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February’s full Moon peaks early Saturday morning, February 24, so look up both Friday and Saturday! It’s also a micromoon. How is that different from a supermoon? Why is it called the full Snow Moon? Find out in our February Moon Guide.
When to See the Full Moon in February 2024
February’s full Snow Moon reaches peak illumination at 7:30 A.M.EST on Saturday,February 24. It will be below the horizon at this time, so for the best view of this Moon, look for it starting the night before or later on Saturday; it will drift above the horizon in the east around sunset and reach its highest point in the sky around midnight. See when the Moon will be visible in your area.
February’s full Moon is a “Micromoon” this year. Think of this term as the opposite of a “Supermoon.” It simply means that the full Moon is at its farthest point from Earth (not the nearest point). In astronomical terms, we call this “apogee.” Specifically, February’s Micro full Moon is about 252,225 miles from Earth.
Why is the Moon nearer or farther (in this instance) from Earth? Simple: The Moon orbits Earth in an elliptical path. One side is nearer to Earth, and one side is farther. This distance affects the Moon’s size and brightness, although it’s probably not visible to the naked eye. The perceived size of the Moon from Earth is more related to the “Moon Illusion” and how close the Moon appears to the horizon; in this case, it’s high above the horizon, so it may not appear to loom over us the way it appears when it’s near the horizon.
Why Is It Called the Snow Moon?
The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, not just to the full Moon itself.
The Snow Moon
The explanation behind February’s full Moon name is a fairly straightforward one: it’s known as the Snow Moon due to the typically heavy snowfall that occurs in February. On average, February is the United States’ snowiest month, according to data from the National Weather Service. In the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver, who had visited with the Naudowessie (Dakota), wrote that the name used for this period was the Snow Moon, “because more snow commonly falls during this month than any other in the winter.”
Alternative February Moon Names
Names for this month’s Moon have historically had a connection to animals. The Cree traditionally called this the Bald Eagle Moon or Eagle Moon. The Ojibwe Bear Moon and Tlingit Black Bear Moon refer to the time when bear cubs are born. The Dakota also call this the Raccoon Moon; certain Algonquin peoples named it the Groundhog Moon, and the Haida named it Goose Moon.
Another theme of this month’s Moon names is scarcity. The Cherokee names of Month of the Bony Moon and Hungry Moon give evidence to the fact that food was hard to come by at this time.
Each month, we will explain the traditional names of the Full Moon along with some fascinating Moon facts. In this video, learn about the Snow Moon, “Moon weather,” and the horns of the new crescent Moon. Click below to watch the video.
Best Days in February 2024
Below are the Best Days for activities, based on the Moon’s sign and phase in February.
Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprise that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann