The second full moon of the winter season, the Snow Moon, will make an appearance this weekend. Don’t panic — the presence of the Snow Moon doesn’t necessarily mean it will snow. Rather, the name refers to the time of the year; February is known for its heavy snowfall in a number of states. You’ll be able to see the moon for yourself, of course, assuming the skies aren’t covered in clouds.
This year will offer a total of 13 full moons, of which the Snow Moon is the fourth brightest (because it will also be the fourth closest), according to EarthSky. This moon may qualify as a ‘supermoon’ for this reason, though it depends on how strict you are about the definition of a supermoon. Whether you will personally notice the increase in brightness or the seemingly larger size will vary.
Full moons tend to get a lot of attention as markers for different points of the year, earning them names like ‘Harvest Moon,’ which is given to the full moon that happens around the time of year that farmers start harvesting crops in the US.
The full moon that happened in January was called the Wolf Moon, whereas the one that will happen in March will be called the Worm Moon. Some full moons have multiple different names that vary based on location. As for this month’s Snow Moon, the celestial body will be around 225,000 miles from Earth.
The Snow Moon will be at its fullest on Sunday, February 9, at 2:33 AM ET / 11:33 PM PT on February 8. NASA points out that this full moon will happen during the Magha Puja, the second biggest festival of the year for Buddhists. Other names for this moon include in the Storm Moon and Hunger Moon.