Full snow moon, smallest ‘micromoon’ of 2023, dazzles winter stargazers

The February full moon shone in stunning photos around the world.

From participants in the Chinese Lantern Festival celebrating the first full moon of the Chinese New Year, to astronauts on the International Space Station, a full snowy moon has captured the eye and shone in photos despite being the smallest “micromoon” of 2023.

The February full moon, referred to in some Native American cultures as the Snow Moon, occurred in the eastern United States at 13:28 (18:28 GMT) on Sunday (February 5), according to the US Naval Observatory. (will open in a new tab). In New York, it was visible at 17:10 – about eight minutes before sunset, that is, it was visible in the sky at the same time as the sun.

Related: February 2023 Full Moon: Snow Moon Rising with Jupiter, Mars and Orion

If you’re looking for a telescope or binoculars to watch the next full moon, our guides to the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals can help. Our best astrophotography cameras and best astrophotography lenses will also help you prepare for your next skywatching spectacle on your own.

Would you like to take a more detailed journey under the moon on our rocky companion? Our complete guide to moongazing will help you plan your next trip to the sky, whether exploring the lunar seas, the mountainous terrain, or the many craters that cover the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo Landing Site Watching Guide.

A full snowy moon rises over the edgeNYC outdoor observation deck at the top of 50 Hudson Yards in New York City. (Image courtesy of Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) (will open in a new tab)

A full snowy moon rises over buildings during the Lantern Festival. January 5, 2023 in Tai’an, Shandong Province, China. (Image credit: VCG via Getty Images) (will open in a new tab)

A private jet flies before the full moon in San Francisco. 5, 2023. (Image courtesy of Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) (will open in a new tab)

A full snowy moon rises over the skyline of Madrid on February 19th. 5, 2023. (Image credit: Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images) (will open in a new tab)

A full snowy moon rises behind the Corno Grande peaks in the Gran Sasso di Italia National Park in L’Aquila, Italy. 5, 2023. (Image credit: NurPhoto via Getty Images) (will open in a new tab)

The Full Snow Moon was the smallest full moon of the year due to the distance from Earth that the Moon was in its orbit around our planet. The full snow moon in February, called a “micromoon”, was the opposite of a supermoon and was 14% smaller than the moon at its largest. However, most observers failed to see the difference.

The annual Lantern Festival in China, other Asian countries and communities around the world celebrated the arrival of the moon, the first year of the Chinese Year of the Rabbit. According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the festival honors deceased ancestors during Yuan, the first month of the lunar calendar. (will open in a new tab).

Astronauts on the ISS spotted the Moon quite easily. “The view of the full moon rising from the pale blue atmosphere from the ISS is incredibly beautiful,” Koichi Wakata, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut, wrote on Twitter. (will open in a new tab). (Japanese translation provided by Google.)

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Astrophotographers in the US and elsewhere spotted the Full Snow Moon and captured footage of our neighbor shining in the sky.

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Editor’s Note: If you’ve taken a picture of the Moon and would like to share it with readers, please send your photos, comments, name, and location to spacephotos@.

Elizabeth Howell is co-author of Why Am I Taller? (will open in a new tab)? (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), space medicine book. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) or facebook (will open in a new tab).

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