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Point your cameras toward the sky as February’s full moon, nicknamed the snow moon, will make its appearance from midnight Tuesday to midnight Thursday, according to NASA.
The snow moon will be at its brightest on February 16 at 11:57 a.m. ET, but the best time to view it will be after sunset. As a bonus, the moon will be above the east-northeastern horizon on Wednesday evening, which will place it near Regulus, a bright star.
February’s full moon will be generally visible in areas around the world that do not have dense cloud coverage. It will be below the horizon at the South Pole, though, and therefore not viewable from that area, according to Christine Shupla, education and public engagement manager at the Lunar and Planetary Institute.
A large storm system forecast for the central and eastern United States is expected to bring cloud cover, making moongazing difficult Wednesday night into Thursday morning, especially for anyone east of the Rockies, according to CNN Meteorologist Haley Brink.
The best places in the US to view the full moon will be portions of the Southwest and California, where clearer skies are expected.
Native American tribes in the northeastern US first used the name “snow moon” as a nod to the heavy amounts of snowfall that occurred in February, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
The snowy conditions would also cause a scarcity in hunting resources, which is why other tribes referred to the moon as the “bony moon,” “hunger moon” and “little famine moon.”
February’s full moon also coincides with the important Buddhist festival Māgha Pūjā, which celebrates a historical gathering between Buddha and his first 1,250 disciples, according to NASA.
There are 10 full moons left in 2022, with two of them qualifying as supermoons. Here is a list of the remaining moons for 2022, according to the Farmers’ Almanac:
• March 18: Worm moon
• April 16: Pink moon
• May 16: Flower moon
• June 14: Strawberry moon
• July 13: Buck moon
• August 11: Sturgeon moon
• September 10: Harvest moon
• October 9: Hunter’s moon
• November 8: Beaver moon
• December 7: Cold moon
While these are the popularized names associated with the monthly full moons, the significance of each one may vary across Native American tribes.
Lunar and solar eclipses
There will be two total lunar eclipses and two partial solar eclipses in 2022, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun, but only blocks some of its light. Be sure to wear proper eclipse glasses to safely view solar eclipses, as the sun’s light can be damaging to the eye.
A partial solar eclipse on April 30 can be seen by those in southern South America, the southeastern Pacific Ocean and the Antarctic peninsula. Another one on October 25 will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, northeastern Africa, the Middle East, western Asia, India and western China. Neither of the partial solar eclipses will be visible from North America.
A lunar eclipse can occur only during a full moon when the sun, Earth and moon align, and the moon passes into Earth’s shadow. Earth casts two shadows on the moon during the eclipse. The penumbra is the partial outer shadow, and the umbra is the full, dark shadow.
When the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it darkens, but it won’t disappear. Sunlight passing through Earth’s atmosphere lights the moon in a dramatic fashion, turning it red – which is why this is often referred to as a “blood moon.”
Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it may be rusty, brick-colored or blood red.
This happens because blue light undergoes stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color highlighted as sunlight passes through our atmosphere and casts it on the moon.
A total lunar eclipse will be visible to those in Europe, Africa, South America and North America (excepting northwestern regions) between 9:31 p.m. ET on May 15 and 2:52 a.m. ET on May 16.
Another total lunar eclipse will also be on display for those in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America and North America on November 8 between 3:01 a.m. ET and 8:58 a.m. ET – but the moon will be setting for those in eastern regions of North America.
This year kicked off with the Quadrantid meteor shower in January, but the next meteor shower won’t peak until April.
Here are the remaining 11 showers to watch for in 2022:
• Lyrids: April 21-22
• Eta Aquariids: May 4-5
• Southern delta Aquariids: July 29-30
• Alpha Capricornids: July 30-31
• Perseids: August 11-12
• Orionids: October 20-21
• Southern Taurids: November 4-5
• Northern Taurids: November 11-12
• Leonids: November 17-18
• Geminids: December 13-14
• Ursids: December 21-22
If you live in an urban area, you may want to drive to a place that isn’t littered with city lights that will obstruct your view.
Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look straight up. And give your eyes about 20 to 30 minutes – without looking at your phone or other electronics – to adjust to the darkness so the meteors will be easier to spot.