First supermoon of 2020: when and how to see the 'Snow Moon' of February

Few astronomical phenomena cause as much excitement as those known lately as supermoons.

First supermoon of 2020.
Supermoon 2020.

⬛ The first supermoon of the year will shine in the sky this weekend, especially Sunday, February 9

⬛ The term, actually coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle, describes that moment when the satellite, in full moon phase, passes through the perigee, which is the point in its orbit (elliptical shape) closest to the Earth.

⬛ Theoretically, during a supermoon, in the more formal language of science, the diameter of the Moon can increase by up to 14% and its brightness by approximately 30%. 

And although these changes are difficult to perceive with the naked eye from our homes, the truth is that during the three to five super moons of the year, the most people will look around to see if the superlative fits the reality.

The first supermoon of the year, which this weekend in February will be at its peak, is also known as the 'Snow Moon', although the reference to the time of year is currently a bit confusing. 

Snow or not, the early risers will be able to observe it more clearly, according to the National Astronomical Observatory, on Sunday 9 February. 

⬛ The 'Supermoon of Snow' can be seen from today (Friday) and during a whole weekend. 

As always, and in order to enjoy it a little more, the best thing to do is to escape from the light pollution of the cities and reserve to a comfortable place with a certain height and clear views.

From next Friday 7 to Monday 10 February, a snowy moon, the first supermoon of 2020, will cover our sky at night.

According to the Farmer's Almanac, Native American tribes in the Northeast referred to the second winter full moon as the Snow Moon because of the heavy snowfall in February.

This year, it is a supermoon, which means that it will be one of the largest moons in 2020 and will look especially large when it rises and sets.

Supermoon, February 2020.
Supermoon, February 2020.

The Snowy Moon is the most commonly used nickname for the full moon in February, but it is also known asStorm Moon, Hunger Moon, Magha Purnima, Magha Puja, Mahamuni Pagoda Festival Moon and Chinese Lantern Festival Moon, expresses NASA.


  1. It's a full Moon that occurs when the Moon is at the closest point to the Earth in its orbit. 
  2. This Moon is also important for other reasons, according to NASA. 
  3. The full Moon marks the beginning of the Jewish celebrations of Tu BiShvat, known as the "New Year of the Trees.
  4. This is also the first full moon of the Chinese new year, which means the end of the Asian country's new year celebrations.
  5. The Moon also coincides with a major Buddhist festival, Magha Puja, on February 9th, which brings together the followers of the Buddha to listen to "Ovada Patimokkha", a famous sermon by the philosopher.
  6. Finally, the snow moon will reach its peak between Saturday night and the early morning of February 9. 
  7. The next full moon, another super moon, will occur on March 9th. There will be two additional supermoons in April and May.
According to NASA, the first week of the month is also a good time to see the planet Mercury, which will be at its highest elevation over the horizon for spectators in the northern hemisphere. 

⬛ Spectators can look towards the western horizon during clear weather to detect the elusive planet.

The best time to notice Mercury and Mars, and what happens to Betelgeuse?

First supermoon of 2020, snow moon.

The first week of February is a good time to discover the planet Mercury. For northern hemisphere observers, the innermost planet will be at the highest altitude of the year above the horizon.

⬛ Look out for Mercury, which lies low in the west, just after sunset in the first week of February or so.

In the west it looks very low about half an hour after sunset. It is best to look at the end of the first week, around 6 and 7 February, when the planet is in its brightest state.

On the morning of 18 February, the North American sky can watch Mars disappear behind the moon for about an hour in an event called the occult.

The occult areas of the Moon and Mars can be seen from somewhere on Earth about twice a year. But like an eclipse, to capture it, you have to be in the right place at the right time. The pair must be high enough in the sky to be clearly visible, and if you are where you are after sunrise, you will need a telescope.

The red planet hatches behind the moon on February 18.

For viewers in the eastern time zone, the occult begins shortly after the local sunrise, but you can see Mars disappearing behind the moon with a telescope or good binoculars. Nevertheless it is worthwhile to see Mars very close to the crescent just before dawn.

Observers in the central time zone will be able to observe the beginning of the occultation in the sky before dawn, when Mars slides behind the moon. The end of the occultation will be after sunrise for you.

The time zone of the mountain has a better view, as both the beginning and the end of the occultation in the sky takes place before sunrise. (Although the couple will be near the horizon at the beginning of the event).

And in the Pacific time zone, you can see the end of the occult because Mars will reappear because of the dark side of the moon. To see this, you need a clear view deep into the southeast sky.

Finally, this month the left shoulder of Orion has attracted a lot of interest - especially the bright red giant star known as Betelgeuse.

By the end of 2019, Betelgeuse - usually one of the brightest stars in the sky - has weakened considerably. Knowing that this massive star is of the kind that eventually ends in a supernova explosion, many have wondered if the recent blackout is not a warning that Betelgeuse will explode.

Don't hold your breath while you wait for Betelgeuse to explode a supernova. It is unlikely to give us a warning in advance. 

Although it could explode tomorrow, astronomers think it's more likely that it will explode over a longer period of time, probably in 100,000 years, and it's unlikely to announce his death in advance.

Fortunately, Betelgeuse is far enough away so that if it goes supernova, we will not experience negative effects such as radiation. But it will be pretty shiny in the sky for a few weeks.

February 9, supermoon 2020.

⬛ The Moon will be full on Sunday morning, Feb. 9 at 2:33 a.m. EST. 
The Moon will appear full for about three days centered around this time, from Friday evening to Monday morning, making this a full Moon weekend. 

⬛ This full Moon is traditionally called the Snow Moon, Storm Moon, Hunger Moon, Magha Purnima, Magha Puja, the Mahamuni Pagoda Festival Moon, the Chinese Lantern Festival Moon, and the Full Moon of Tu B'Shevat.

February 18, supermoon 2020.

⬛ The waning crescent Moon and the planet Mars will put on a show, appearing quite close to each other in the southeastern sky. 

⬛ The Moon will actually pass in front of Mars, blocking Mars from view, but for the eastern half of the USA this will occur during daylight and will not be visible without a telescope. 

⬛ For much of the western half of North America, the occultation of Mars by the Moon should be visible.

February 20, supermoon 2020.

⬛ The planet Saturn will appear to the upper right of the thin, waning crescent Moon.

February 23, supermoon 2020.

⬛ Sunday morning, Feb. 23, at 10:32 AM EST, will be the new Moon, when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from Earth.

This weekend you can see the first supermoon of the year.

called the Snow Moon because it coincides with a period of snowfall in the northern hemisphere. It is characterized by being whiter and brighter than usual and will be visible from Friday night to Sunday, although in Spain the best time to see it will be at 8:33 am on Sunday, according to the National Astronomical Observatory

These super moons take place when the satellite is at its closest point to the Earth, resulting in one of the largest full moons of the year. This moon will mark the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations and the Lantern Festival, when people hang lanterns on their houses and other buildings to say goodbye to the celebrations.

These super moons take place when the satellite is at its closest point to the Earth.

The name Snowmoon comes from certain Native American Indian tribes, as explained by the American Space Agency. In fact, heavy snowfall also gives it its other nickname, Luna de Hambre (Hunger Moon). 

In fact, most of the nicknames given to full moons are translations or adaptations of the names of Native Americans, who followed the seasons by giving a different name to each recurring full moon.

Other names also come from popular folklore, such as Luna Azul. In this case, the name comes from the American Farmers Calendar, published in 1818. In English blue has the meaning of rare. 

Initially, blue moon, which has been translated here as luna azul, referred to the third full moon that occurred between the solstice and the equinox or between the equinox and the solstice.

The name Snow Moon comes from certain Native American Indian tribes.

A mistake in a U.S. astronomy magazine in 1946 caused any second full moon in the same month to be called a "blue moon" (which has nothing blue about it), which is rare. Another name popularly given to the moon is blood. The reason for this curious name comes from its coincidence with a total lunar eclipse.

Unlike what happens in total eclipses of the Sun, when the Moon stands between the Earth and our star and completely hides it, in eclipses of the Moon the satellite does not disappear, but turns reddish. This happens because the Earth's atmosphere refracts the Sun's rays and directs them towards the Moon, but at longer wavelengths.

In eclipses of the Moon, the satellite does not disappear, but turns reddish

Something similar can be seen in the orange and reddish tones of the sunsets. Hence the nickname blood moon. The harvest moon and the hunter's moon are popular terms for the full moon that occurs at the end of summer in September and close to the autumn equinox in October.

The names also come from Native American folklore and refer to agriculture. Despite the media and social interest they generate, supermoons are not important for the scientific community and even the very name they receive, 'supermoon', is more linked to astrology and popular folklore than anything else related to science.