The moon is almost full and that gives us an excuse to admire the mysterious white light of our nearest heavenly neighbor gazing down on us from 238,000 miles away – if the weather permits a good sighting.
February’s full moon was known by Native American and European tribes as the Snow Moon, or sometimes the Hunger Moon or Storm Moon.
They used the cycles of the moon as a calendar to track the changes in the natural world. And with February being the worst month for snowfall and blizzards in many parts of the USA, meaning food was scarce and hunting was difficult, you can see why it earned those names.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac says it also has animal associations and is sometimes known as the Eagle Moon, Bear Moon, Raccoon Moon, Groundhog Moon, or Goose Moon.
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When to see the Snow Moon
The moon is fullest at 4.56pm on Wednesday, February 16, for the UK but this will be different in other time zones.
Check the weather for your area for an indication of whether you’ll be able to see and photograph the moon.
Met Office forecasts for Birmingham show light rain at the time of the full moon being at its peak, so visibility is very low and seems pretty unlikely.
Try looking on the days either side as the moon will still appear virtually full. Friday looks promising with sunny intervals forecast in the afternoon for the Birmingham area, at this point.
What effect does the full moon have
Several police forces have reported more crime at a full moon with an increase in violence and altercations.
One study found more motorcyclists died in crashes when there was a full moon than on other nights, but no precise scientific cause has been given.
Some research has found human sleep patterns are affected – with deep sleep reduced by 30 per cent, the time taken to fall asleep increased by five minutes, and total hours of sleep being around 20 minutes less. This sleep deprivation could then influence a person’s mood.
Vets have recorded more cases of injuries to cats and dogs around the time of a full moon – possibly because the animals are active for longer at night because of bright moonlight.
For those who are into horoscopes, the Snow Moon falls within the sign of Leo.
Those who are Leo or Aquarius will feel the effects most, but it will have an impact on all signs of the zodiac. Astrologers say the influence of this moon is in getting us to follow our hearts, work out what we want from life and then make it happen. It will also inspire more passion in your love life.
How to take pictures of the moon
Try to keep away from the bright lights of cities that cast a glow over the night sky.
Look for interesting landmarks such as buildings, tall trees or other objects so your photo can give an idea of how big the moon is.
Turn off your flash and, if using a smartphone, use your finger to focus on the part of the sky where the moon is located.
It’s best to use an app with a quick shutter speed because the moon is not static but moving.
You probably won’t need tripods and zoom lenses but they could help keep the camera steady and get a better close-up view.
Is it a supermoon?
The February full moon of 2022 is not a supermoon this time.
There will be two full moon supermoons in 2022: on June 14 and on July 13.
Supermoons occur when the moon’s elliptical orbit brings it closest to Earth, making it appear 14 per cent larger and about 30 per cent brighter.
Full moon dates for 2022 – complete list
- January 17 – Wolf Moon
- February 16—Snow Moon
- March 18 – Worm Moon
- April 16—Pink Moon
- May 16 – Flower Moon
- June 14 – Strawberry Moon (supermoon)
- July 13 – Buck Moon (supermoon)
- August 11 – Sturgeon Moon
- September 10 – Harvest Moon
- October 9 – Hunter’s Moon
- November 8 – Beaver Moon
- December 7—Cold Moon
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