Nashville’s “Snow Moon”

Image result for supermoon
Photo of a 2012 “Supermoon” via NBC News

On the evening of Saturday February 9th, the Nashville area saw an abnormally large moon known as a super-moon. This was also a special moon because it was also known as the “snow moon.” The “snow moon” is a full or new moon of astronomical and cultural significance around the globe.

The super-moon phenomenon occurs when a new or full moon coincides with perigee which is when the Moon is closest to Earth in its elliptical orbit. This results in a Moon that appears larger than a normal new or full moon. Also, the tides associated with a super-moon are slightly more extreme due to the gravitational force between the Earth and the Moon being stronger because of a shorter distance between the two planetary bodies.

This moon was called the “snow moon” because according to the Farmers’ Almanac northeastern Native American tribes associated the moon with the large snowfall of early February. The “snow moon” is also significant in the Chinese, Jewish, and Buddhist cultures signaling the beginning and end of various holidays.

6 thoughts on “Nashville’s “Snow Moon”

  1. Hi Jack! I thought the Moon yesterday was called “Snow Moon” because it was the full Moon during the winter, but didn’t know it got the name because the Moon was at its perigee. I found the Moon round and large but because this was the first time I took an astronomy class, I never looked up at the sky before and couldn’t compare it with the Moon at other times. Your definition is quite interesting because as the Moon orbits the Earth with a cycle of 29 days, we can have snow moons during summers. Anyway, I think snow moons are phenomena we wonder at and hope we have another snow moon soon!

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  2. interesting post jack, I thought that the moon looked extra bright last night. Very strange that one of these moons occurred after so short after learning about the apogee and perigee. This post leads me to wonder if the waves around the world were any larger than average. I also wonder how often “snow moons” occur, and if we will get more snow soon here in nashville.

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  3. Jack, I really enjoyed reading your post on the “snow moon” that we observed the other night. I remember driving home during the evening on the 9th and observing the moon and remarking to my friend on how large it was. This event occurred earlier in the evening, as well, adding to the mysterious nature of this abnormally large moon. Seeing your post finally answered my questions regarding this moon! Thanks so much for the informative and enlightening post! I hope that we have more snow moons so — but next time it’ll bring enough snow to cancel class.

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  4. Hey Jack,
    I really enjoyed your post / learning about how gravitational forces impact other matter like snow. Crazy to think about. I wonder what other weird ways we see how gravity impacts nature.

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