If you’re looking for the perfect night to take your special other stargazing, you’ll have to wait no longer than this Tuesday, February 19, when the moon will be the largest for the year.
If you look up at the sky on the night of February 19, you’ll be able to see the “super snow moon”, which gets its name because the month of February usually has the heaviest snowfall. Supermoons, according to NASA’s official website, happen when “the moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full.”
“When a full moon appears at perigee [its closest point to Earth] it is slightly brighter and larger than a regular full moon – and that’s where we get a ‘supermoon’,” they explain, adding that the phrase was coined in 1979.
This month’s full moon will be the fullest on Tuesday, at 14% bigger and 30% brighter, but you will also be able to view it starting from Sunday. According to EarthSky, this Tuesday’s full moon will be the closest of the year with “only” 221,734 miles from Earth.
This is the second supermoon of the year, with the last one being on January 21. That last one, called the super blood wolf moon, was an even stranger and rare spectacle, as it happened during a lunar eclipse, which gave the moon a red glow (Pictured below).
January’s super blood wolf moon lunar eclipse was not something that happens every year, as several natural phenomena had to align to make it happen. It was a lunar eclipse which happened at the same time as the supermoon, giving it a red-ish glow, hence the ma,e “blood”, while the “wolf” refers to it taking place during the month of January when wolves would howl at night a long time ago. People from all over the world, including celebrities, camped out to catch a glimpse.
We have no doubt people will be camping out to watch the largest moon of the year as well.
The next supermoon of the year will be on March 20, and it occurs on the same day as the vernal equinox which marks the start of spring. Known as the “Full Worm Moon,” it will also be the last supermoon of the year.