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"Micromoon" celestial event will dazzle the skies tonight

February’s full Moon will light up the sky on the morning of Saturday, February 24, 2024, offering a celestial spectacle known as the Snow Moon. This particular full moon is classified as a “Micromoon,” a term that contrasts with the more commonly known “supermoon.”

The micromoon occurs when the full moon is at apogee, or its farthest point from Earth, making it appear slightly smaller in the sky compared to when it’s at its closest.

This “Snow Moon” is a Micromoon

The name “Snow Moon” comes from the traditional naming conventions that reflect the seasonal characteristics or activities of the time. February, often being the peak month for snowfall in many parts of the United States, earns the full moon of this month its chilly moniker. 

This naming practice draws from a variety of sources, including Native American, Colonial American, and European traditions, which often named the lunar months after natural events or societal activities occurring at that time.

For instance, in the 1760s, Captain Jonathan Carver, during a visit at the Dakota reservation, wrote that the name used for this period was the Snow Moon, “because more snow commonly falls during this month than any other in the winter.” 

Alternative names

The Snow Moon’s alternative names also reveal a lot about the month of February. For example, it is also known as the Bald Eagle Moon, Eagle Moon (Cree), Bear Moon (Ojibwe), Black Bear Moon (Tlingit), Raccoon Moon (Dakota), Groundhog Moon (Algonquin), and Goose Moon (Haida) in various cultures, highlighting the connection to the animal world and the natural cycles of life during this period. 

Additionally, names like the Bony Moon and Hungry Moon (Cherokee) underscore the scarcity of food resources that communities historically faced at this time of year.

Captivating event

For those eager to catch a glimpse of this wintry full moon, it’s advisable to look towards the sky on the night of Friday, February 23, or after sunset on Saturday, February 24. The Snow Moon will rise in the east and reach its zenith around midnight, offering a splendid view, despite its micromoon status. 

While the reduced size and brightness might not be evident to the naked eye due to the Moon Illusion, the event still promises to be a captivating sight for moon gazers everywhere.

More about Micromoons

As discussed above, a Micromoon, an intriguing celestial event, occurs when the moon is at its apogee, the farthest point from Earth in its elliptical orbit.

This astronomical occurrence contrasts with the more widely recognized “Supermoon,” where the moon appears larger and brighter in the sky due to its proximity to Earth.

During a Micromoon, the moon appears slightly smaller and dimmer to observers on Earth, offering a unique visual experience.

How Micromoons affect humans

Visual Differences

The visual impact of a Micromoon is subtle yet noticeable. When compared to a Supermoon, a Micromoon may appear up to 14% smaller and 30% less bright.

This size and brightness difference can significantly affect how we perceive the moon, especially when photographed next to landmarks or the horizon.

Cultural and Scientific Significance

Micromoons hold a special place in both cultural traditions and scientific study. Various cultures interpret the appearance of a Micromoon through myths and legends, often seeing it as a sign of change or a symbol of humility.

Scientifically, Micromoons provide astronomers and astrophotographers a different perspective on lunar observation, enabling detailed studies of the moon’s surface and its relation to Earth.

Best practices for viewing micromoons

To experience a Micromoon, find a location away from city lights with a clear view of the sky. Although the differences are less pronounced than those of a Supermoon, using binoculars or a telescope can enhance the viewing experience, allowing observers to appreciate the moon’s reduced size and brightness.

Predicting Micromoons

Micromoons occur periodically throughout the year, usually coinciding with the moon’s apogee once every month. However, not all apogees result in a Micromoon.

For a Micromoon to be officially recognized, it must also coincide with the full moon phase, making these events somewhat rarer and more special to witness.

In summary, micromoons invite us to look up and notice the subtle nuances of our natural satellite. These celestial events encourage both amateur stargazers and professional astronomers to explore the night sky with renewed interest and curiosity.

By understanding and appreciating the phenomenon of Micromoons, we can deepen our connection to the cosmos and the ever-changing nature of our celestial surroundings.

Myths and legends about full moons

Full moon myths and legends span across cultures and history, reflecting humanity’s fascination and awe for the night sky. The full moon has often been associated with magic, transformation, and mystery, serving as a backdrop for various stories and beliefs.


In many cultures, the full moon is linked to werewolves, creatures who transform from humans into wolves. This legend is prevalent in European folklore, where it’s believed that a person bitten by a werewolf or under a certain curse can become a werewolf themselves, especially during a full moon.

Native American folklore

In Native American folklore, the full moon is often associated with spiritual significance and the timing of rituals. For example, some people believe that the full moon brings a time of cleansing and renewal, and they conduct ceremonies to honor it.

Asian cultures

In Asia, the Moon Rabbit or Jade Rabbit is a popular mythological figure in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean cultures. According to legend, this rabbit lives on the moon and is seen pounding the elixir of life for the immortals, or in some versions, pounding the ingredients for rice cake. This myth is celebrated during the Mid-Autumn Festival, where mooncakes are eaten in homage to the lunar deity.

Greek mythology

The ancient Greeks associated the full moon with Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, wilderness, and childbirth. Artemis was believed to illuminate the night sky with her beauty and was revered during the full moon.

Madness and lunacy 

In many cultures, the full moon is also linked to madness and lunacy, a belief so strong that it even influenced the English language. The term “lunacy” is derived from Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon. Despite scientific studies debunking the correlation between the full moon and erratic behavior, the notion persists in popular culture.

The moon’s influence

The full moon’s influence on human behavior, fertility, and agriculture is another widespread belief. Some farmers still follow moon phases for planting and harvesting, adhering to ancient practices that suggest crops sown during certain lunar phases grow better.

These myths and legends, while varying greatly across different cultures, underscore the moon’s universal appeal and its powerful place in human imagination and spirituality.


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