In Brief

How to see the super snow moon tonight

Biggest and brighter supermoon of 2019 set to light up the sky

Stargazers are being treated to another spectacular lunar phenomenon with the so-called “super snow moon” tonight.

The phenomenon occurs when the Moon come closest to the Earth during its monthly elliptical orbit, and as a result appears “much bigger and brighter than normal”, the Daily Mirror says.

However, weather forecasters have warned that cloudy and overcast conditions could leave some stargazers disappointed, particularly in Scotland and northern England.

What is the super snow moon?

Supermoons, also know as perigee moons, occur when the Moon is at its closest approach to Earth. During this time, it looks around 15% bigger and up to 30% brighter than a full moon at its furthest point away from our planet.

The “snow” refers to when this supermoon occurs. Each month, the full moon for that period “carries a different name signifying what is most associated with that time”, says CNN.

“This is because centuries ago, lunar months were associated with the changing seasons rather than the solar year,” the news site adds.

Last month brought the “super wolf moon”, a name given to the January full moon by Native Americans and Europeans.

February’s full moon is dubbed the “snow moon” because it is a month associated with heavy snowfall. The next full moon, on 21 March, is known as the worm moon, since this is typically the time of year when the ground begins to thaw and earthworms reappear.

Where can I see it?

The Moon will be at its fullest during daylight hours, peaking at 3.53pm in the south of the UK, but visibility will be better after sunset, at 5.26pm.

The Met Office forcasts that much of southern England will remain clear and dry, resulting in good visibility during the super snow moon, while the north and Scotland will have mostly overcast skies.

“After a chilly start there will be sunny spells for many,” the weather service said in a tweet. “Dull, wet and windy weather will develop over Northern Ireland though, spreading into Scotland, northwest England and Wales later.”

Met Office forecaster Emma Smith added: “Rain coming in from the west will make it a wet day for many access the UK. It really will be quite overcast tonight, although there may be some breaks in clouds for those on the south coast.

“There will be persistent rain in northern England, Scotland and Wales, with heavy downpours of up to 60mm in higher areas.”

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