ST. LOUIS — February’s Snow Moon is this weekend, and the full moon reaches its peak in the early morning hours Saturday.
It’s called the Snow Moon because traditionally, heavy snowfall occurs in February.
“Before calendars and timekeeping, that repeating cycle of the moon in the sky is how many people first were able to keep track of time and they noticed patterns,” said Will Snyder, the planetarium manager at the Saint Louis Science Center. “At certain times of year, we’d have more snow when this moon was up or it was time to harvest when this one was. And it’s a tradition that we still carry on until this day.”
If you are an early riser, the next several mornings will put on quite a show. The planets of Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury — our largest and smallest planets — will rise close together just before sunrise, in the 6:00 hour, on the Eastern horizon.
“Anyone who’s willing to get up early in the morning and you’ve got a clear view of your horizon, you can see a nice trifecta of planets,” Snyder said. “You want to look towards the east and that’s easy to find in the morning because that’s the rough direction where the sun rises. And it’s right when it starts to get light.”
The planets will be followed by Venus (tough to see) and then the sun. You have to look quickly though. As the sun comes up, those planets will get very hard to spot.
“It’s right at sunrise and low in the sky,” Snyder said. “But if you’re up and looking for a challenge, nothing beats seeing those planets together.”