April 17, 2024

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The February full moon reaches its peak this weekend

The February full moon reaches its peak this weekend

Lorenzo Di Cola/Norphoto/Getty Images

The golden orb, nicknamed the Snow Moon, will appear almost like any regular full moon. Here, a snow moon looms over Abruzzo, Italy, in February 2022.

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February's full moon, known as the Snow Moon, is set to reach its peak on Saturday, shining across the globe in the night sky.

The moon will be at its peak at 7:30 a.m. EST on Saturday. According to Earth SkyBut to the human eye the moon will appear Full for a few daysSo the best time to watch it will be on the nights before and after the peak.

While it is called the “Snow Moon” – a nickname inspired by the heavy snowfall that usually occurs in February in parts of the United States, according to Farmers Almanac -The golden orb will look like almost any regular moon. But this moon will be a micromoon, meaning it may appear a little smaller than usual.

“It's a little further from Earth than the Moon usually is,” said Rachel Klima, a research and development researcher. A planetary geologist and lunar expert at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.

“It's about 10% smaller. So it might look a little smaller. But a lot of times, when people see a really huge moon, it's usually because it's low on the horizon, not because of the actual distance from it,” Klima said. (The Little Moon) “It's not going to be super small. It's going to be a little smaller than the average full moon you're looking at.”

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The full moon phase occurs when the moon, Earth, and sun are aligned in this order. Klima said February's full moon will occur when the moon is at its furthest point from Earth in its elliptical orbit known as apogee. The minimoon will also be dimmer than the moon normally appears by about 30%. According to Earth Skyallowing a slightly better view of nearby celestial objects, without the average light interference.

This year, the Snow Moon will be seen shining next to the bright star of the Leo constellation, Regulus. Near the moon's peak, on the night of February 23, the star will be seen directly below the celestial body, according to EarthSky.

Obviously, you don't need any special equipment to enjoy seeing the moon, but binoculars can be a good tool for those looking to see its features and craters clearly, Klima said. She added that the full moon is best observed in a clear sky, as even in slightly cloudy weather, the moon will occasionally peek through the clouds.

Thursday, Odysseus moon lander It successfully landed near the moon's south pole, achieving a feat no spacecraft had attempted from the United States since the Apollo program ended more than five decades ago. Intuitive Machines' IM-1 mission also marks the first commercial spacecraft to soft-land on the lunar surface amid a renewed international push for the lunar surface.

“The beautiful thing about when you look at the moon now is the amount of renewed activity there on an international level,” Klima said. “We're basically opening up a new era of lunar exploration. … When these different companies start landing on the moon, we'll be able to learn a lot, a lot more and this whole new world — the economic world and the scientific world — will be open to us.”

See also  September's full harvest moon is the last supermoon of the year

Of the 12 full moons in 2024, the full moon in February is the only minimoon of the year, while lunar events in September and October will be considered supermoons, according to EarthSky.

Definitions of a supermoon can vary, but the term generally refers to a full moon that is closer to Earth than usual and therefore appears larger and brighter in the night sky. Some astronomers say this phenomenon occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee – its closest approach to Earth in orbit.

Here are the remaining full moons of 2024:

  • September 17: Harvest Moon
  • October 17: Hunter's Moon

Solar and lunar eclipse

Multiple eclipses will occur in 2024, including two types of lunar eclipses and two types of solar eclipses, according to the Emirates News Agency. Old Farmer's Almanac.

The most unexpected of these events is A total solar eclipse on April 8Which will be visible in parts of Mexico, the United States and Canada. A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, completely blocking the face of the sun.

Those located in the path of totality, or locations where the Moon's shadow will completely cover the Sun, will witness a total solar eclipse. People outside the path of totality will still be able to see a partial solar eclipse where the Moon blocks only part of the Sun's face.

A total solar eclipse will not be visible across the contiguous United States again until August 2044.

An annular solar eclipse will occur on October 2 over parts of South America. This type of eclipse is similar to a total solar eclipse, except that the Moon is located at the farthest point in its orbit from the Earth, so it cannot completely block the Sun. Instead, an annular solar eclipse creates a “ring of fire” in the sky where the fiery sunlight surrounds the moon's shadow.

Meanwhile, a penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible to many across Europe, northern and eastern Asia, Australia, Africa, North America and South America from March 24-25.

A lunar eclipse, which makes the Moon appear dark or dim, occurs when the Sun, Earth, and Moon line up so that the Moon passes into Earth's shadow. A penumbral lunar eclipse is more subtle and occurs when the Moon moves through the Earth's outer shadow, or penumbra.

A partial lunar eclipse, where the Earth moves between the sun and the moon without being completely aligned, will appear over Europe and most parts of Asia, Africa, North America and South America between September 17 and 18.

Checks Location time and date To find out when each of these eclipses will appear.

Skygazers can look forward to a slew of meteor showers this year, according to the website American Meteor Society. Here are the dates when meteor events are expected to peak this year.

  • Buckeyes in the southern delta: July 29-30
  • Alpha Capricorn: July 30-31
  • Southern supplies: November 4-5
  • Northern Supply: November 11-12