“They are essentially the same,” Patrick Hartigan, an astrophysicist at Rice University in Houston, told NBC News MACH in an email. “You can maybe tell the difference from a normal full moon if you make a practice of looking at a lot of them” — something Hartigan said is true for him.
This month, the moon will be closest to Earth at 4:07 a.m. EST Feb. 19. At that moment — what astronomers call lunar perigee — our natural satellite will be 221,681 miles away from the planet. On average, the moon is about 240,000 miles from Earth; the greatest distance the moon gets from Earth — what’s known as lunar apogee — is about 253,000 miles.
The moon won’t be completely full until 10:53 a.m. EST Tuesday.
February's full moon is sometimes called the “snow moon" in folklore tradition because of the heavy snowfalls that are common in winter. Whatever you call this full moon, you won’t need any special gear to see it. You will only need clear skies.