When is the next full moon? Date of February 2022 Snow Moon, UK visibility forecast and its spiritual meaning

The February full moon is also referred to as the Storm Moon, Hungry Moon and the Bone Moon

The next upcoming full moon will light the skies on Wednesday 16 February.

Called the Snow Moon, it also has alternative names that date back to North American tribes.

We take a look at when it is best to see the full moon this month in UK skies, why it is called the Snow Moon and why full moons are given various names throughout the year.

Why is it called the Snow Moon?

February’s full moon is commonly referred to as the Snow Moon because it is often the United States’ snowiest month, as well as for other parts of the northern hemisphere.

The name comes from the Native Americans, who gave different names to all of the full moons depending on what they signified during the year.

It’s also traditionally referred to as the Hunger Moon, because hunting was very difficult in snowy conditions and food scarcity was faced during this month because of this.

Brutal weather conditions during February severely impacted the ability of Native American tribes to hunt.

Bone moon was another reference, as there was typically a shortage of food, with people gnawing on bones and eating bone marrow soup to get by.

NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) explained: “The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published Indian names for the full moons in the 1930’s, and according to this almanac, this was known as the Snow moon because of the heavy snows that fall in this season.”

How can I see the full Snow moon in the UK?

The full moon will grace our skies at 4.56pm on Wednesday 16 February.

The best time to see it will be that night, however the Moon will be very close to full illumination on the nights either side of the peak, meaning you should have a couple more opportunities to catch a glimpse.

In the UK, the peak of the Snow Moon will occur just as it is rising above the horizon, so the best viewing conditions will be in the following hours when it is higher in the sky.

The Moon will reach its highest point at around midnight on the 16th, at which time it will be located to the south, having risen in the east.

How often does a full moon occur?

A full moon occurs every 29.5 days and happens when the Moon is completely illuminated by the Sun’s rays.

It occurs when the Earth is directly aligned between the Sun and the Moon.

Most years we see 12 full moons, however some years we have 13 meaning that some months will see two full moons - the second is known as a Blue Moon.

Thirteen full moons occurred in 2020 with the two full moons in October.

Why do full moons have different names?

The early Native Americans didn’t record time using months of the Julian or Gregorian calendar, instead they gave each full moon a nickname to keep track of the seasons and lunar months.

Most of the names relate to an activity or an event that took place at the time in each location.

However, various tribes tended to name and count moons differently - it wasn’t uniform.

Some, for example, counted four seasons a year while others counted five.

Colonial Americans adopted some of the moon names and applied them to their own calendar system which is why they’re still in existence today, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

When is the next full moon?

The next full moon will be on Friday 18 March, which is known as the Worm Moon.

It also has multiple other names including the Sap Moon, Crow Moon and Crust Moon, while its Anglo Saxon name is the Lenten Moon.

It graces our skies in the same month as the spring equinox, and is used to fix the date of Easter.

Easter is always the Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.

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