A Bright Snow Moon, the Last Full Moon of Winter, Lights Up the Sky This Weekend

Jake Smith
·2 min read
Photo credit: Misha Kaminsky - Getty Images
Photo credit: Misha Kaminsky - Getty Images

From Prevention

  • This year’s full Snow Moon reached peak 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 across the night sky.

  • Its chilly name is particularly meaningful this year, following several countrywide snowstorms.

For many parts of the country, this year’s winter has been one of the snowiest in recent memory—and this month’s full moon is arriving just in time to send it off.

The full Snow Moon reached peak illumination at 3:17 a.m. EST on Saturday, February 27, according to NASA. Although that’s the exact moment it’ll be its brightest and fullest, the moon will appear to be full through 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 overhead around midnight, and sinking below the western horizon close to daybreak, per The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Thanks to its height, the full moon should be easy to spot for casual observers—depending on the time of night, look either high in the sky or close to the horizon.

Because it’s the third and final full moon of winter, February’s moon takes its name from the snow that coats the ground during the frigid, blustery final days 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 so fitting.

Other traditional names for the last full moon of winter include the Hunger Moon and the Bony Moon, The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains, because hunting was most difficult this time of year. (Another nickname, the Groundhog Moon, unfortunately has nothing to do with Punxsutawney Phil, who rings in Groundhog Day early each February.)

Even though there’s less than a month of winter left, it’s not quite time to break out the swimsuits—the latest weather forecasts point to a chilly 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 the 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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