CONNECTICUT — The February full moon, on Sunday, Feb. 5, gets its nickname — the snow full moon — because it’s brightest during what is usually the snowiest time of year. Although most of the state is as brown as a berry, there are some patches of white stuff in the north.
The forecast for Sunday evening across most of the state is cloudy and cold.
The full moon will reach its maximum illumination around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, but will be buried below the horizon. Gaze into the eastern sky at sunset — that’s around 5:10 p.m. in Connecticut — and watch the moon as it drifts above the horizon. The moon reaches the highest point in the sky around midnight.
According to the Farmers’ Almanac, Native American tribes in the North and East called the February full moon the snow moon.
Food was also scarce in February, so the Cherokee used names such as Bone Moon or Hungry Moon, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Other nicknames for the February full moon used by tribes are Bald Eagle Moon or Eagle Moon, used by the Cree; the bear moon and the black bear moon by the Ojibwa; the raccoon moon by the Dakota; marmot moon by some Algonquin peoples; and the goose moon near the Haida.
Views of once-in-a-lifetime comets
Before the moon is full, try to catch a glimpse of a rare green comet that hasn’t been seen since Neanderthals roamed the Earth in the Upper Paleolithic. Comet ZTF made its closest approach to Earth on Wednesday, but is still expected to be visible for a few more weeks before disappearing for about 50,000 years.
It could be visible to naked eye. The important word is “could”.
“The brightness of comets is notoriously difficult to predict, however,” according to NASA. They often fail to measure up to brightness forecasts, or they can exceed expectations, the agency said.
Telescopes and binoculars will provide the best views of the comet in the morning sky as it moves northwest, according to Space.com. With a telescope, skywatchers can expect to see the comet until mid-February.
The comet is expected to brighten as it exits the constellation Corona Borealis this week and passes through the constellations Boötes, Draco, Ursa Minor and possibly Camelopardalis on its close approach to Earth. Follow the movements of the ZTF comet on Universe Today.
Also worth a look
Winter is also a good time to gaze upon Orion, the celestial warrior and brightest of all the constellations with several prominent bright stars – the red giant Betelgeuse in the upper left and the blue giant Rigel in the lower right, with its more recognizable feature being the belt made up of three bright blue stars in the center.