The image at top – a February moon from years past – was taken by Dan Bush. His Missouri Skies Moon Page is not to be missed.
The moon turns full today (Friday, February 13, 2014) at 23:53 Universal Time. That’s 6:53 p.m. EST, 5:53 p.m. CST, 4:53 p.m. MST or 4:53 p.m. PST. By the way, that bright star near the full moon is Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion.
Today’s full moon presents the second full moon after the December 21, 2013 solstice. Today, in North America, we often call this particular full moon the Wolf Moon, Snow Moon or Hunger Moon.
But the February full moon can assume any number of different names. It was called the Snow-blinding Moon by the Micmac people in eastern Canada. This full moon was the Wind Moon to the San Ildefonso of the Southwest. And it was the Blackbear Moon to the Kutenai of the Northwest. The list could go on and on, as evidenced by Keith’s Moon Page.
Every full moon stands opposite – or nearly opposite – the sun. Try noticing how high above the horizon you see the moon tonight. Its distance above the horizon indicates approximately how far below the opposite horizon the sun is at that time.
Any time you see the moon near the horizon, it might have an orange or reddish color. The reason is Earth’s own atmosphere. The moon’s (or sun’s) light must pass through a greater thickness of atmosphere when rising or setting (that is, when it is near the horizon) than when overhead. Since the atmosphere scatters the bluish component of light, while allowing the redder light to travel straight through to our eyes, objects often appear redder than normal when near the horizon. So any moon, full or not, may look reddish when seen near the horizon.
Watch tonight as the February full moon and the star Regulus travel together across the sky tonight from dusk until dawn!