Eyes to the Sky: By the light of the Snow Moon
This weekend, nights are lit by the waxing (increasing) gibbous (larger than half) moon, to be experienced as a sequence that culminates on Monday when the Snow Moon arrives at full phase at 3:26 p.m.
At that moment the side of the moon facing Earth will be fully lit because the moon will be opposite from the sun in its orbit around the Earth. Earth will be in the middle without blocking the sun's light from reaching the moon: eclipses are infrequent because sun, earth and moon do not often precisely align.
There will be three minor lunar eclipses in 2013: two will not be noticeable. Look for news of the other here around Oct.18.
The moment of full moon is different from its local rising time. Luna appears wholly round for about 24 hours, when it is rising and setting opposite the sun.
The Full Snow Moon rises on the Feb. 25 at 5:51 p.m. in the east moments after sunset at 5:38 p.m. in the west-southwest. On the morning of Feb. 26, moonset in the west is at 6:33 a.m. opposite sunrise, which will be in the east-southeast at 6:34 a.m.
Nearly full moonlight shines during most of the 13 hours of darkness into the new week even though the waning (decreasing) gibbous moon rises close to an hour later each night.
A robust oval moon rises this afternoon at 2:42 p.m.
By nightfall it will have climbed the eastern sky in the company of bright star Procyon to its right, brilliant Sirius further right, and, above, planet Jupiter.
To contact Judy Isacoff go to www.naturesturn.org