Wednesday April 17, 2024

Smallest full moon of 2024 to rule skies this weekend — When can it be seen?

Snow Moon which is smallest full moon of 2024 will provide amazing show despite its lesser size

By Web Desk
February 22, 2024
An image of a full moon. — Vito Technology/File
An image of a full moon. — Vito Technology/File

This weekend will see the second full moon of 2024 in February rise in a flurry of colour and light, but don't expect to see a massive orb in the evening sky. 

The Snow Moon will be the smallest of the year when it rises at nightfall on Saturday, February 24, due to the laws of orbit, according to Live Science.

This Snow Moon, which is the exact opposite of a supermoon, will become full when the orbit of our natural satellite, which has a slightly elliptical monthly orbit, approaches its farthest point from Earth.

Nasa claims that the Snow Moon, also known as the Hungry Moon, Storm Moon, Wolf Moon, and Candles Moon, will provide an amazing show despite its lesser size. When it appears, the Lantern Festival—also known as Shang Yuan or Yuan Xiao Jie—which is a component of the Chinese New Year festivities, will officially begin.

Though it will officially reach full phase in North America around 7:30am EST, the optimal moment to view it is during moonrise later that day. A moonrise and moonset calculator can be used to get the precise time for your location.

On Saturday, shortly after sunset, look for the Snow Moon rising in the east. Because of Earth's atmosphere, this moon will radiate a deep orange colour. 

Locate a high point with a clear horizon that faces east for the finest view. Watching a full moonrise with naked eyes is ideal, but using binoculars will help you notice craters and other lunar characteristics. On Friday and Sunday, the moon will also appear brilliant and full.

Next full moon after the "Snow Moon" is the "Worm Moon," which occurs on March 25. It will slip into Earth's shadow, producing a mild penumbral lunar eclipse. 

Two weeks later, on April 8, the moon will be in the proper position to produce a total solar eclipse. This eclipse can be best viewed inside a narrow line of totality that stretches across northwest Mexico, 15 US states, and six provinces in Canada, measuring 115 miles wide (185 km).