Snow Moon: What it means and when you can see it

This year’s Full Snow Moon falls on Feb. 10, 2017 in New York City.

New York City is expected to get as many as 8 inches of snow on Thursday, and Friday is the Full Snow Moon. Coincidence? Perhaps.

Despite what the name suggests, the Snow Moon is technically just another name for the full moon that falls in February.

While this may seem a bit underwhelming, there are some pretty interesting facts about the Snow Moon. See below to learn more.

Where did the name come from?

Snow Moon, or Full Snow Moon, originated with Native American tribes in the north and east who described it this way based on the heavy snowfall that occurs during the month, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. It was also called the Full Hunger Moon by some tribes due to the effects the harsh weather conditions had on hunting.

Snow Moon coincides with penumbral eclipse

This year’s Snow Moon also falls on the same night as a partial lunar eclipse. Also known as a penumbral eclipse, this occurs when the moon moves through the outer part of the Earth’s shadow, says Emily Rice, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History. The eclipse is described as the subtlest of its kind and can be easily missed, according to Earthsky.org. But if your timing is right (and the weather holds up), you will see a faint shadow pass slowly across the moon. For New Yorkers, this would be around when the moon rises on Feb. 10; the penumbral eclipse will be gone by evening twilight, per Earthsky.org.

Will New Yorkers be able to see the Snow Moon?

Though the forecast may change, currently Friday is expected to be sunny with clouds moving in overnight and a chance for snow after 2 a.m. (how fitting), according to the National Weather Service. So long as the clouds hold off until after the moon rises, you will be able to spot the Full Snow Moon and the penumbral eclipse.

Date and time to best view the Snow Moon in NYC

The Snow Moon falls on Friday, Feb. 10, 2017. The moon will reach its peak fullness at 7:33 p.m., per the Farmer’s Almanac. Since clouds are expected to move in overnight, the best time to view the moon will be closer to when it rises, which the U.S. Naval Observatory says is around 5:17 p.m.

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