Stargazers in search of their next lunar fix are gonna be in for a treat next week, as a ‘super snow moon’ is forecast to be the biggest and brightest full moon of 2019. Huzzah!
Normally 19 February is no date to get excited for – winter’s lingering, we’re still having to at least pretend to hold up our health-based New Year’s Resolutions and Valentine’s Day has just sucked the life out of us once more.
But fret not, because this month’s full moon – set to hit its peak Tuesday – is expected to be the brightest of the year, making it the second super moon in a row after the ‘super blood wolf moon’ on 21 January.
So instead of getting through the Tuesday trudge, why not gather up your loved ones, get the binoculars out (or telescope if you’re really into this stuff) and have yourself a mid-week lunar party?
The full moon in February is often referred to as the snow moon because of the time of year that it occurs, as the month often sees the heaviest snowfall (although it’s not looking likely here in Blighty).
When it comes to the science behind the cosmic phenomenon, according to NASA, a super moon unfolds when the moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth at the same time it is full.
a href=”https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/moons/earths-moon/what-is-a-supermoon/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>The space agency’s website says: “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 ‘super moon’,” adding that the phrase was coined in 1979.
Although the super snow moon will be at its fullest on Tuesday morning, it’ll still be visible from Sunday night through to Tuesday evening, appearing around 14% largest and 30% brighter than usual.
Unfortunately it won’t be quite as colourful as last month’s super wolf moon – but it’s promised to still be quite the natural display, nonetheless. Mother Nature’s gearing up for a party, so don’t be late!
And if you are, don’t worry, because the next super moon – known as the ‘full worm moon’ – can be seen in the UK on 21 March, just several hours before the official start of Spring.
Incidentally, the weather looks pretty mixed over the next few days, so it’s still a lottery as to whether you’ll actually see this special moon.
May the odds be ever in your favour.
Featured Image Credit: PA