CONNECTICUT — February’s full moon on Sunday, Feb. 5, owes its nickname — the full snow moon — to the fact that it is at its brightest during what is typically the snowiest time of year. Although most of the state is as brown as a berry, there are a few patches of the white stuff in the northern reaches.
The forecast for Sunday night throughout most of the state is cloudy and cold.
The full moon will reach peak illumination at around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, but will be buried below the horizon. Look in the eastern sky around sunset — that’s around 5:10 p.m. in Connecticut — and watch the moon as it drifts above the horizon. The moon reaches the highest point in the sky around midnight.
Native American tribes in the North and East called the February full moon the snow moon, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.
Food was also scarce in February, so the Cherokee used names such as the bony moon or hungry moon, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Other monikers for the February full moon used by tribes are the bald eagle moon or eagle moon, used by the Cree; the bear moon and black bear moon by the Ojibwa; the raccoon moon by the Dakota; the groundhog moon by certain Algonquin peoples; and the goose moon by the Haida.
Once-In-A-Lifetime Comet Views
Before the moon turns full, try to catch a glimpse of a rare green comet that hasn’t been seen since Neanderthals roamed Earth in the Upper Paleolithic period. Comet ZTF made its closest approach to Earth on Wednesday, but should still be visible for a couple more weeks before it disappears for another 50,000 or so years.
It could be visible with the naked eye. The important word is “could.”
“Comet brightness is notoriously hard to predict, though,” according to NASA. They often fail to measure up to predictions about brightness, or they may exceed expectations, the agency said.
Telescopes and binoculars will offer the best views of the comet in the morning sky as it moves northwest, according to Space.com. With a telescope, skywatchers can expect to see the comet through mid-February.
The comet is expected to brighten as it moves out of the Corona Borealis constellation this week and passes through the constellations Boötes, Draco, Ursa Minor and eventually Camelopardalis in its close approach to Earth. Track Comet ZTF’s movements on Universe Today.
Also Worth A Glimpse
Winter is also a good time to gaze at Orion, the celestial warrior and the most brilliant of all the constellations with several prominent, bright stars — the red giant Betelgeuse at the upper left and the blue giant Rigel at the lower right, with its most recognizable feature being the belt consisting of three bright blue stars in the center.