It may be hard to believe our calendar page is about to say February. Given the popular name for February’s full moon, the Snow Moon, and the cold weather forecasted for the end of January, we may want to turn to another name for the month’s full moon, the Groundhog Moon.
Maybe that creature whose appearance sometimes forecasts an early Spring for farmers will bring good news on Feb. 2, this year. That date is just before the moon has full illuminations on Feb. 5 at 12:28 p.m. CT in 2023.
Because it technically becomes full in the afternoon when below the horizon, sky wsatchers might consider it seems quite full Feb. 4 and definitely, Feb. 6.
However, even full it will appear smaller than usual because, as with January’s full moon, February’s is a Micromoon. The opposite of a Supermoon that appears large because its orbit is close to Earth, the Micromoon’s orbit takes it farthest from Earth when full.
Time and Date has an excellent discussion on February full moon names, where the snowiest place is in the US. It quotes Climatologist Brian Brettschneider who says Valdez, Alaska is snowiest incorporated city and that east of the Rockies the area is at New Hampshire’s Mount Washington Observatory.
Time and Date also has an excellent explanation of Micromoons.
Besides snow, the Old Farmer’s Almanac says Native American tribes often name the February full moon for animals. I like that some Algonquins call it the Groundhog Moon.
Other tribal names include the Bald Eagle Moon or Eagle Moon named by the Cree and the Bear Moon so named by Ojibwe.
if seeking something beyond sitting by a pool for a balmy weather getaway in late February and most of March consider watching your fav baseball team warming up in Arizona or Florida.
Game tickets are less expensive, you can see teams play in their spring home and, particularly in AZ where the parks are a mere 40 minutes away, play against rival teams nearby.
In addition, players are good about autographs and the atmosphere is fun and casual.
First the Cactus League. Well, actually, first is getting past Super Bowl LVII which is played Feb. 12 at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
Go to Visit Phoenix/Things to do where you can scroll down to a map titled “Explore Greater Phoenix.” You can find the town where your team plays and tap on it for places to stay, restaurants and what to do.
As an example, when clicking on Mesa, which is in greater Phoenix’ s Southeast Valley, you see it has the Cub’s spring training base of Sloan Park. BTW the Cubs begin at Sloan Park in Mesa, AZ begins Feb 25 against the San Francisco Giants.
Mesa is also is home to Hohokum, the Oakland Athletics Stadium, several art galleries and such fun restaurants as Worth Takeaway and Jalapeño Bucks (known for its brisket).
By tapping Glendale, an area northwest of downtown Phoenix, you find Camelback Ranch, the spring home of the Chicago White Sox and the LA Dodgers.
Glendale has historic Main Street, an area of turn-of-century homes and lots of restaurants. Visit Cactus League at Camelback Ranch for good ideas on where to stay and what to do.
Which brings us to when and where to go: the Spring Training teams and schedule. MLB has 15 teams that play in the Cactus League from Feb. 24 to March 28, 2023.
Now for Florida and the Grapefruit League. Here you find such teams in the Palm Beach area as the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals who play at the Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium on Jupiter Island.
And just as Sloan Park is Wrigleyville West, the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway South in JetBlue Park on Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers.
*Warning: When looking for info and tickets for your team the websites that appear are primarily resale and other sites. Be safe by going to an official MLB site for tickets. Type in your team and MLB.com.
New Year’s Eve fireworks kept sky watchers engrossed as TV stations moved across the world to different time zones and countries Dec. 31, 2022.
Then nature followed with the Quadrantids meteors. Begun Dec. 28, it peaks pre-dawn Jan. 3 to Jan 4 in 2023. Their “parent” is the Asteroid 2003 EH from the defunct constellation Quadrans Mualis.
They seem to radiate from a point east of Ursa Minor (The Little Dipper) but can be seen anywhere in a clear sky. The problem will be the moon which will be waxing gibbous on its way to full illumination Jan. 6.
Next looking up, is a Mircromoon. Called the Wolf Moon, January’s full moon is considered a Micromoon because it appears smaller due to its orbit which takes it far from Earth (as opposed to a Supermoon which appears large because it is close to Earth).
The January 2023 full moon reaches full illumination at 5 p.m. CST Jan. 6, but will appear full the day before and day after. Some Native Tribes have called it the Wolf Moon because wolves tend to howl more in January.
Just knowing that the Winter Solstice is Dec. 21 with only nine hours and nine minutes of daylight is enough to shiver the bones, not counting predictions of single digit temps.
Cheer up by planning a warm weather trip.
Visit the Phoenix area
Go in time for Superbowl LVII Feb. 12, 2023. It’s at the State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ, home to the Arizona Cardinals. The Phoenix area, particularly Glendale and Scottsdale, are filled with more good restaurants than can be visited in one trip.
Visit the Palm Springs/Palm Desert area
Go in time forModernism Week Feb. 16-26, 2023 to see where the stars lived between takes in Hollywood. This is an annual event that attracts hundreds of mid-last-century architecture and furniture aficionados from the US and Canada.
For a quick, warm weather fix right
Watch a bowl game on TV the Jan. 2. Most traditional New Year’s Day Bowl games will be Monday, Jan. 2 because they don’t play on Sunday.
Toast your favorite team in the 109th Rose Bowl in Pasadena when Utah plays Penn State, but also catch the 134th Rose Parade earlier. It’s great what can be done on floats with nature’s bounty.Started in 1902 with Stanford taking on Michigan, it’s the “Granddaddy” of bowl games. They don’t hold it on Sunday, so it will be Jan. 2. Rose Parade Guide | Visit Pasadena
Or watch the Citrus Bowl when Purdue plays LSU at the Camping world Stadium in Orlando, FL
Or see the Reliaquest Bowl for the University of Illinois vs Mississippi State at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fl.
Or the Cotton Bowl when USC vs. Tulane.at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.
By now you probably heard that the Northern Hemisphere’s Winter Solstice of Dec. 21, 2022, will be making itself known Wednesday followed on Dec. 22-23 by very cold temps, blowing winds and more snow than folks need for a white Christmas.
So, it might be challenging to see the Urid meteors flying across the sky when they peak in the very early hours Thursday and Friday. The good news is that the moon is in its darkest waning crescent phase with very little illumination and becomes a new moon with no illumination Dec. 23.
The Urids are so named because they seem to radiate from the constellation Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper). Their parent is the 8P/Tuttle comet. They started Dec. 13 and continue through Dec. 24.
Producing only five to 10 meteors an hour, the Urids are a comparatively minor meteor shower but it’s always fun to “catch” a meteor.
The Geminids, among the best meteor sky shows of the year, peak Dec. 13-14 in 2022.
Named for the constellation Gemini because the meteors seem to radiate from near its star, Castor, a twin to Pollux, this meteor shower historically hurtles between 100 and 150 fireballs across the sky per hour at its peak. They are traveling at 22 miles per second.
With clear weather and a moon phase that doesn’t make the sky too bright, 120 meteors per hour may be seen in the Northern Hemisphere. Due to the constellation’s position, fewer than half that number are spotted in the Southern Hemisphere.
In 2022, the moon will be wanning gibbous during the Geminids peak. The moon was full Dec. 7-9. But these meteors are bright so chances are you will “catch” at least a few “falling stars.” Find more info at TimeandDate.
The Geminids are different from typical meteor showers. They don’t radiate from a comet but from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon. You can pick up more information on asteroids and comets at Astronomical terms and definitions.
NASA experts say just look at the sky instead of trying to find the constellation Gemini because meteors have shorter trails near their radiant so are harder to spot.
When to watch.
Where warm clothing because you may be outside awhile until your eyes adjust to the sky and atmosphere. Choose to go out when Gemini is above the horizon but before the moon rises or later around 2 a.m. even though moonlight might make them harder to find. Find a spot away from lights or away from moonlight such as the shade of a tree.
That bright white orb in the sky already looks like it is full, but it reaches complete illumination Dec. 7 at 11:09 p.m.
Called the “Cold Moon,” an appropriate Mohawk tribe name considering the temps in the northern latitudes, its high trajectory will make it appear in the sky longer and fuller Dec. 6-9.
Because of its long appearance at night the Mohican tribe calls it the “Long Night Moon.” The December full moon appears a couple of weeks shy of the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21 in 2022, so comes when days are shorter.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, other the Native American tribes have other seasonal names. The Cree tribe has used “Drift Clearing Moon,” “Frost Exploding Trees Moon andHoar Frost Moon. The Haida and Cherokee tribes have called it “Snow Moon.”
In old Anglo-Saxon times, the December full moon was called the Moon before Yule.
For more insight into full-moon names plus seasonal and celebration names visit Time and Date.
Along with its long night, another phenomenon of the 2022 December full moon is that Mars will be blocked by the moon on Dec. 7. Called an “Occultation, the planet, moon, Earth and Sun will be in perfect alignment. Space and Scientific American explain what it is and who can see it when.
BTW, Mars will appear very bright earlier before it starts to disappear when its eclipse begins (different times according to where you live) so start looking for it in early evening.
The other show is in Chicago Jan. 14-15, 2023, at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center (Hall F) at 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont, IL (847) 692-2220). Jan 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Jan 15 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.
It’s a fun show with entertainment, food, expert speakers and lots of handouts.
If you have time, you may want to start out at the virtual show to pick up some ideas in December and then attend the in-person show in January.
While politicians are busy making last minute pitches on US Election Day Nov. 8, 2022 to influence the course of history, our astrological world is busy following its own course.
November’s full moon, called the Beaver Moon because that creature is about ready to shelter in the lodge it created and stored with food for the winter, will appear full and bright the night of Nov. 7. But, it reaches full bright illumination early the following morning at 6:02 a.m. EST Nov. 8 and will still look full Nov. 9.