What time is the full moon tonight? When does the February 2022 full ‘snow moon’ peak?

On Wednesday evening, the full moon of February appeared. For millennia, the full moon has been shrouded in legend and mysticism, inspiring everything from religious festivals to horror flicks and bizarre apocalyptic conspiracy theories. It’s also led to the adoption of moon names in popular culture, with this month’s full moon being nicknamed the “snow moon.”

What time did the full moon appear?

According to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, the February full moon peaked around 4.56 p.m. on Wednesday. Although we think of a full moon every month, the lunar cycle lasts a little over 29.5 days, which means there can be many full moons (often referred to as a “blue moon”). This also means that the full moon occurs somewhat earlier each month, with the following complete lunar calendar for 2022:

  • 17 January
  • 16 February
  • 18 March
  • 16 April
  • 16 May
  • 14 June
  • 13 July
  • 12 August
  • 10 September
  • 9 October
  • 8 November
  • 8 December

When will you be able to see it?

Because of the time the full moon peaks, the greatest time to watch it is in the early evening. However, because the sun sets around 5.15 p.m. for the great bulk of the country, most people will miss out on seeing it at its best in the dark.

 

Why is the February full moon called the ‘snow moon’?

According to the American Farmer’s Almanac, which has been selected as the gold standard for such issues, February’s full moon has come to be known as the “Snow Moon” in certain places. This “is a rather obvious one,” according to the journal, among the explanations behind the moon’s different names.

“It’s known as the Snow Moon because of the generally substantial snowfall that happens in February,” it says. According to the National Weather Service data, February is the snowiest month in the United States on average.”

In recent years, several moon names and their alleged meanings have acquired momentum, with the labels often assigned to Native American tribes:

  • January: Wolf Moon
  • February: Snow Moon
  • March: Worm Moon
  • April: Pink Moon
  • May: Flower Moon
  • June: Strawberry Moon
  • July: Buck Moon
  • August: Sturgeon Moon
  • September: Harvest Moon
  • October: Hunter’s Moon
  • November: Beaver Moon
  • December: Cold Moon

They appear to have gained popularity after the 2014 lunar eclipse – dubbed a “blood moon” because it caused the moon to have a crimson colour – sparked interest in such romanticised names. According to Laura Redish, director and creator of Native Languages of the Americas, there is no conventional Native American calendar, despite Nasa’s claim that the names come from the Algonquin tribe, part of a wider cultural language group known as Algonquian. According to a list issued by the Algonquin Nation Tribal Council in 2005, several of the frequently used names, such as “strawberry moon” and “harvest moon,” appear to be Algonquin. 

Others aren’t, like the “wolf moon” — the tribe supposedly called January “long moon month.”

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