For the 50+ Traveler

Much of the country has been enduring unseasonably cold temperatures and large amounts of snow, so you aren’t alone if you feel as if the month of February is dragging on. Here’s something to look forward to, though: February’s full moon is this week. And with all that snow in mind, it’s fitting that this month’s full moon is called the Snow Moon.

Why Is It Called A Snow Moon?

The Old Farmer’s Almanac takes the names it uses for moons from a number of places, including Native American and European sources. “Snow Moon” is one of the names used by Native Americans for February’s full moon.

“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,” Old Farmer’s Almanac explains.

However, bad weather and heavy snow obviously made it difficult for Native Americans to hunt and find food. That’s why many Native Americans also called February’s full moon the Hunger Moon, NASA points out.

When Is The Snow Moon?

February’s Snow Moon will appear -- to the unaided eye -- to be full on both February 26 and 27. The exact time of peak illumination, however, depends on where you live -- and your time zone.

“The full moon -- by definition -- occurs at the instant that the moon is 180 degrees opposite the sun in ecliptic longitude,” EarthSky explains.

Technically, February’s full moon will occur February 27, at 8:17 Universal Time. For the U.S., that means February 27 at 3:17 a.m. EST, 2:17 a.m. CST, 1:17 a.m. MST, and 12:17 a.m. PST.

However, the time of peak full moon will be different if you are in Alaska or Hawaii. The Snow Moon will occur February 26, at 11:17 p.m. Alaskan Time and 10:17 p.m. Hawaiian Time.

When the sky becomes dark, you will also be able to see a bright star close to the moon. That star is Regulus, which is the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.

What Is The Next Full Moon Called?

Known as the Worm Moon, next month’s full moon was named in reference to the earthworms which typically begin to emerge in March in the Northern Hemisphere.

You may also see another name associated with the next full moon: The Paschal Full Moon. Since it is the first full moon to occur after the spring equinox on March 20, its date determines the date of Easter, Old Farmer’s Almanac reports. Easter is April 4 this year.

Whether you call it the Worm Moon or the Paschal Full Moon, it will reach peak illumination on March 28, at 2:48 p.m. EST.

Love to look up? Check out our stargazing category.