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- This year’s full snow moon reached full illumination at 3:17 a.m. EST on Saturday, February 27, 2021.
- The last full moon of winter is easy to spot, with a long, high arc in the night sky.
- Its cold name is particularly significant this year, following several snowstorms across the country.
In many parts of the country, this year’s winter has been one of the snowiest in recent memory, and this month’s full moon arrives just in time to send it out.
The full snow moon reached maximum illumination at 3:17 a.m. EST on Saturday, February 27, according to NASA. Although that is the exact time when it will be brightest and fullest, the moon will appear to be full until Sunday.
Like last month’s Wolf Moon, the Snow Moon will mimic the path of the summer sun, rising in the east around sunset, peaking around midnight, and sinking below the western horizon near sunrise. according The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Because of its height, the full moon should be easy for casual observers to spot; depending on the time of night, look high up in the sky or near the horizon.
Because it is the third and final full moon of winter, the February moon takes its name from the snow that covers the ground during the cold, windy days at the end of the season. February is the snowiest month in much of the country, and after this month’s historic snowstorms in Texas and beyond, “Snow Moon” has never been more appropriate.
Other traditional names for the last winter full moon include the hunger moon and the bony moon, The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains, because hunting was more difficult at this time of year. (Another nickname, Groundhog Moon, unfortunately has nothing to do with Punxsutawney Phil, who plays on Groundhog Day in early February.)
Even though there is less than a month of winter left, this is not the time to take out your bathing suits: the latest weather forecasts point to a cold March and a stormy April. But hey, the Snow Moon serves as a reminder that no matter the temperature right now, the first day of spring (and warmer weather along with it) is still on its way.
The next full moon, the worm moon, takes place on March 28, just over a week after the first day of spring.
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