Snow Moon rises in the night sky as ‘green comet’ hurtles away from Earth

The full moon known as the ‘snow moon’ rises above Howth lighthouse in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Wire)
The full moon known as the ‘snow moon’ rises above Howth lighthouse in Dublin (Brian Lawless/PA) (PA Wire)

The Snow Moon has risen, just the latest in a series of notable events for the night sky.

February’s full moon will stay bright in the sky until the early morning of Tuesday.

It is notable in part for what it has stopped us seeing. The bright light of the coming full moon may have obscured some people’s view of the famous “green comet” – and meant that some might be forced to wait until later in the month to see it, when the lunar light has faded a little and the night sky is more visible.

Beyond being a full moon, there is nothing special about the snow moon in itself. It will look the same as any other full moon.

Instead, it is so named because it is February’s full moon – and February, at least according to tradition, tends to bring snow.

As such, the February moon was given the name in the Maine Farmers’ Almanac in the 1930s, when it claimed they were based on Native American tradition, and those names have become generally used as the way of referring to each month’s Moon.

The same moon also gets the name Storm Moon, for much the same reason. And sometimes it is called the Hunger Moon, it claimed, because those snow and storms tend to make it difficult to hunt.

And it is sometimes known as the Wolf Moon, according to Nasa. In Europe, it can sometimes be referred to as the Candles Moon, because Candlemas falls in early February.

In the UK, conditions are mostly clear for seeing the night sky over the coming days, according to the Met Office. That should allow for a relatively unrestricted view of both the moon and the comet.

Beyond the comet and the Moon, there is plenty to be seen in the night sky in February – including a range of planets that should be visible.