The full moon in February this week has put ancient monuments and even the launch of SpaceX in a new light.
The February full moon, known in some Native American cultures as the Snow Moon, peaked on Sunday (February 5), according to the US Naval Observatory. (will open in a new tab). It has captivated viewers around the world, despite being a micromoon at its closest possible distance from Earth; this is the opposite of a supermoon.)
Space.com reader Josh Dury, also of our parent company Future PLC, referenced the mythology of King Arthur in the story’s incredible main character. Dury photographed Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, UK, including the planned (or protected) medieval monument St Michael’s Tower atop a nearly 530-foot (160-metre) hill.
Glastonbury is best known in some Arthurian myths as his final resting place, called Avalon. But archaeological research has found flint (stone) tools as early as the Upper Paleolithic, which ended around 10,000 BC, the National Trust says. (will open in a new tab). From a perspective, the Neolithic, or the beginning of large-scale human settlement in the region, is around 6000 BC.
Related: Full Moon Calendar 2023: When to See the Next Full Moon
The star event of the Full Snow Moon was the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the Amazonas Nexus satellite for Spanish company Hispasat.
The rocket lifted off from the Space Force Station at Cape Canaveral in Florida on Monday at 8:32 pm EST (03:32 GMT on Feb. 7), and a few minutes later, the first-stage booster successfully landed on the unmanned craft.
Viewers from across the space coast filmed a Falcon 9 flying close to the Moon and shared the results on Twitter.
One shot of the Falcon 9 flight to the moon. #SpaceX #Falcon9 #AmazonasNexus pic.twitter.com/BGiB6FvAvj, February 7, 2023
So close, but without a cigar. @SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts @Hispasat Amazonas Nexus payload into orbit, 98% closer to tonight’s full moon.#AmazonasNexus #Falcon9 pic.twitter.com/QXtrrINDKkFebruary 7, 2023
The full moon is watching today’s @Hispasat Amazonas Nexus mission launch. It was a great night to go into space! #SpaceX pic.twitter.com/uRXseZigazFebruary 7, 2023
The falcon races past Mr. Moon #SpaceCoastSkies #SpaceX #Falcon9 #SnowMoon pic.twitter.com/GwFT8JdnVXFebruary 7, 2023
Yeaaa!! Finally last night during the @SpaceX #AmazonasNexus launch, they managed to capture the coveted shot of a “rocket flying past the moon.” 👐🙌#SpaceX #Falcon9 #moon #rocketlaunch 📸: me for @TJWallerPhotos pic.twitter.com/rLnVz0w8xHFFebruary 7, 2023
Merging two frames of a SpaceX Falcon 9 hopping over the Moon as seen from Central Florida carrying an Amazonas Nexus satellite pic.twitter.com/P7Aju0gqycFebruary 7, 2023
A SpaceX Falcon 9 launched the Amazonas Nexus mission last night with an almost full moon rising in a clear night sky. #overthemoon #Falcon9 #SpaceX #longexposure #rocketlaunch pic.twitter.com/Ya6r8zsuWLFFebruary 7, 2023
#SpaceX Launch – View from Orlando🗓️ 06/02/23 📍Orlando📷 Sony α7R III 🔘 Sony 200-600mm@elonmusk @SpaceX #SonyAlpha #florida #launch #moon #rocket #photography pic.twitter.com/zCjoEJCQjiFebruary 7, 2023
Meanwhile, Space.com readers have brought back images of the moon from around the world. Jason Frost from Bolekhoshti, Czech Republic spotted our lunar neighbor from his garden about 90 minutes east of Prague.
However, if you look closely, you will see a photobomb: the plane is crossing the surface of the moon from Frost’s point of view.
(Image credit: Jason Frost) (will open in a new tab)
Space.com reader Sergio Conceicao from Portugal spotted a Full Snow Moon over Torre de Menagem. The tower is part of the Estremoz Castle in Alentejo, about two hours east of Lisbon. Conceição captured an epic moonrise photo with a Canon EOS R camera and a Canon EF 100-400 L lens.
This 13th-century castle is part of what remains of medieval Estremoz, which Encyclopedia Britannica (will open in a new tab) describes it as “an ancient closed city”. The castle is best known as the place where Elizabeth (Isabella) of Aragon died in 1336, years after her successful participation in the civil war. Today the castle is used as a state hotel.
(Image credit: Sergio Conceicao) (will open in a new tab)
Muhammad Raihan, astrophotographer, amateur astronomer and astronomy educator at the Jakarta Planetarium and Observatory in Jakarta, Indonesia, captured this stunning image of the Moon, joined by a special guest. “This is a photo collage of a commercial aircraft that photographed a micromoon (the smallest moon of the year) that had just risen in the east,” Reyhan told Space.com.
The seven images used to create this collage were taken on a Nikon D5100 with an AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm lens at f/3.5-5.6.
(Image credit: Mohammed Raihan) (will open in a new tab)
If you are looking for a telescope or binoculars for observing the moon, our guides to the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals can help you. 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? Whether exploring the lunar seas, the mountainous terrain, or the many craters that cover the landscape, our complete guide to moongazing will help you plan your next trip across the sky. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo Landing Site Watching Guide.
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).