The full moon in January / EFE

Snow moon: When and where to see the last full moon of February in Spain

The moon is so named by North American tribes because it coincides with the month with most snowfall of the year in the northern hemisphere. But there are other astrological phenomena you should look out for in the night sky

RAQUEL MERINO

The month of February brings with it the so-called 'full snow moon'. It will be visible on 16 February and will light up the sky also on 17 February.

On these dates, the moon will be about 380,000 kilometres from Earth and during the night, it will travel through the celestial space in the constellation of Leo, hiding in the west after sunrise. The phase of the full Moon occurs when the moon is behind the Earth with respect to the Sun and its face is fully illuminated by the Sun’s light shining through space.

And why is it known as a full snow moon? It was the name that the ancient North American tribes gave to this February moon because it coincided with the month in which the most snowfall occurred in the northern hemisphere.

Also on 16 February, the planet Mercury will reach its maximum western elongation making it one of the best times of the year to observe it just before sunrise. Elongation in astronomy means angle between the Sun and a planet as seen from Earth.

But it will not be the only planet visible in the Andalusian night sky. During the first fortnight of the month, Venus is above Mercury, which can also be seen brightly from the east before sunrise. Mars can also be seen before sunrise, in the east, although less clearly than Venus. Jupiter, which is still in Aquarius, can be seen when it sets in the west at nightfall albeit for a very short time.