Why Is Tonight's Full Moon Called Snow Moon Or Hunger Moon

If the skies are relatively clear tonight, take a moment to step outside and witness the Full Snow Moon.

Why Is Tonight's Full Moon Called Snow Moon Or Hunger Moon

Look up, as February brings forth the Snow Moon, a full moon set to illuminate the night sky.

Why is it called the Snow Moon?

Named by Native American tribes as the 'Snow Moon' or the 'Hunger Moon', this lunar event carries a history woven with the challenges of midwinter. NASA has explained that heavy snowfall, making hunting difficult, led to it being called the 'Snow Moon'. The added title of the 'Hunger Moon' reflects the scarcity of resources during this wintry period. 

While February holds the title of the snowiest month along the Northeast coast, January claims the peak month for snowfall in the central Plains.

This year, one might argue that the Snow Moon is poorly named, considering the lack of snow in many parts of the eastern United States. Despite this, the Snow Moon goes by various names. In South Carolina, Native Americans call it the "first flower moon," signalling the start of spring's journey northward, according to the Washington Post

When can we see the Snow Moon?

The Snow Moon will be visible starting Friday evening and will reach its maximum brightness at 7:34 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday. If you miss it on Friday, Saturday night also offers an opportunity to catch a glimpse. The moonrise in the Washington, D.C. area is at 5:10 p.m. on Friday, shifting to 6:10 p.m. on Saturday, according to space.com.  

Alongside the Snow Moon, don't miss other celestial wonders. You can witness Venus and Mars in the sky until Saturday with a backyard telescope or just your eyes. Just check the eastern sky, close to the horizon, around sunrise.

After the full moon, catch the zodiacal light phenomenon in areas away from city lights. From Monday onward, glance west after twilight, especially as the moon fades. This subtle glow, created by space dust in sunlight, stretches from the horizon to the sky. It is a lovely sight, perfect for observing or capturing with your camera during spring and fall.