Full Moon today February 24, 2024, what time to see the Snow Micromoon and why it is called that

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Full Moon today February 24, 2024, what time to see the Snow Micromoon and why it is called that

On the evening of Saturday 24 February the sky will be embellished by the spectacular Full Snow Moon, the full moon of the month. This year it will also be a Micromoon. Why is it called that and what time to see it.

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Starting from 5.53pm ( Rome time) today, Saturday 24 February 2024 , we will be able to admire the February full moon , the Full Snow Moon , in the sky. The name, linked to the Native American Dakota tradition, is a tribute to the heavy snowfall of the month; Historically, February is in fact the snowiest in North America, as explained by Almanac.com, while in Italy the record generally goes to January. Furthermore, this year's Moon is not a “classic” Full Moon, but a Micromoon , that is, a Moon that is a little smaller (and less bright) than usual. Naturally the reference is to the apparent dimensions of the lunar disk on the celestial vault, which during micromoons – phenomena opposite to supermoons – are slightly reduced. The reason lies in the fact that the Earth's satellite , during the full moon, is close to its apogee , or the maximum distance from our planet. Here's everything you need to know so you don't miss today's show.

What time to see the Full Moon today Saturday February 24, 2024

As explained by the Italian Amateur Astronomers Union (UAI) in the “Sky of the Month” column, today's full moon, Saturday 24 February 2024, will occur at exactly 1.30pm Italian time. Since Earth's companion will be beyond the horizon at that time, we will have to wait for it to rise before we can observe it. As indicated, the Full Snow Micromoon will appear in the East just before 6pm in the sky of the Capital, embraced by the constellation of Leo. The time, naturally, varies based on the geographical position of the observer: in Naples, for example, the Moon will rise at 5.47pm, in Milan at 6.01pm and in Cagliari at 6.13pm. Even if the full moon is an exact moment, as explained by NASA the “fullness” appears as such to our eyes for about three days, overall. Therefore, the lunar disk already appeared full on the evening of Friday 23 February and will also appear so throughout the night between 24 and 25 February, before setting shortly after 07:00 on Sunday (Rome time).

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Because today's Full Moon, February 24, 2024, is called that

The common names of full moons have no scientific value, but have a strong link with traditions and popular culture , especially those of Native Americans, who marked the months and seasons through a lunar calendar (and not with our Gregorian calendar) . These names were chosen to pay homage to particular natural/meteorological phenomena, animals, crops, flowers or practices – such as hunting and fishing – which had a very important meaning for the survival of the tribes. Each of them chose their own. The name Full Snow Moon of the February full moon, as told by Almanc.com, was chosen by the Dakota community, one of the largest in the Sioux alliance. “In 1760 – explains the portal – Captain Jonathan Carver, who had visited the Naudowessie (Dakota), wrote that the name used for this period was Snow Moon, 'because more snow commonly falls during this month than in any other winter month '”. The data is also confirmed by the National Weather Service of the United States, which indicates February as the month with the heaviest snowfall. In Italy, as specified, it is more often that of January.

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Full Snow Moon is just one of several names from multiple tribes for February's full moon. Sometimes the same tribe gave multiple names to the same Full Moon. The Dakota, for example, also called February the Full Raccoon Moon . Other well-known names include Marmot Moon (Algonquians); Bone Moon and Hungry Moon (Cherokee); Black Bear Moon (Tlingit); Eagle or Bald Eagle Moon and Goose Moon (Haida).

Because today's Full Snow Moon is a Micromoon

The Moon does not have a perfectly circular orbit around the Earth, but an eccentric one, i.e. elliptical , therefore during its wandering in space it can find itself closer or further away from our planet. The average distance is approximately 384,000 kilometers ; the closest point, called the perigee , is about 356,000 kilometers away , while the farthest, the apogee , is just over 406,000 kilometers away . It follows that, depending on the orbital point at which the Full Moon occurs, more or less close to the Earth, the lunar disk appears slightly smaller or larger in the firmament . When the full moon is close to the perigee, a Supermoon occurs, while when it is close to the apogee, a Micromoon occurs. Since the Full Snow Moon will occur 405,000 kilometers from Earth, we will be looking at a Micromoon.

The differences in size (and brightness) are only a few percentage points and generally only a trained eye can see them between supermoons, micromoons and common full moons. But just compare photographs taken with the same settings to realize the small but significant differences. Sometimes the proximity to the horizon also plays a role in the apparent size of the lunar disk; when the Moon is low and behind buildings, mountains and monuments it can appear gigantic. Even the color may seem more reddish when it is close to the horizon, due to the greater “thickness” of the Earth's atmosphere that separates it from the observer, which is able to more effectively absorb certain wavelengths of solar radiation.

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