Why tonight’s Supermoon is known as the ‘hunger moon’

TONIGHT the skies covering Britain will be dominated by a bright Supermoon – but the rare astronomical even goes by more than one name.

The full moon tonight is also called a ‘snow moon’ or a ‘hunger moon’ and here’s why.

People gather on top of Glastonbury Tor as the Snow moon rises last night
SWNS:South West News Service

Tonight’s Supermoon will be called a Snow Moon as it’s the first full moon in February.

It is so-called as February is traditionally the time of year where the snow is the deepest, although the UK is currently snow-free.

But the other – much more sinister – name for the occurrence is the hunger moon.

This is because in less-developed times, this time of year would become a fight for survival between people who had failed to stock up on enough food for the whole winter.

Before we could just pop to the shops to get our food, our ancestors had to hunt in order to eat, and that just wasn’t possible at this time of year as it was so cold.

Different types of moon are often decided based on old European or American words.

Bad weather and heavy snows made hunting difficult, so this Moon was also called the Hunger Moon


NasaOn the Hunger Moon

Nasa explained: “The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published Indian names for the full Moons in the 1930’s, and according to this almanac, this was known as the Snow Moon because of the heavy snows that fall in this season.

“Bad weather and heavy snows made hunting difficult, so this Moon was also called the Hunger Moon.”

It wasn’t until 1979 that Richard Nolle first defined the Supermoon, which is now a widely-used term.

The astrologer explained that the phenomenon is “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90 per cent of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit”.

Based on Nolle’s theory, the moon would have to be around 226,000 miles away from the Earth to be considered “super”.

Because of its relatively close proximity to the Earth, the celestial body’s surface appears a lot bigger when a Supermoon occurs.


The scientific event is fairly uncommon, as it can occur around every 14 lunar months or full moons.

Nasa added: “The term ‘supermoon’ was introduced by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and has become popular, particularly when it refers to a brighter than usual full Moon.

“By Richard Nolle’s definition, the full Moons in January, February, and March of 2019 will be supermoons, with the February Moon the brightest of the three.”

A full blue Supermoon rises behind the Walkie-Talkie building in central London
London News Pictures
The almost full super snow moon rises at sunset behind the Empire State Building in New York City on February 18, 2018
Getty – Contributor


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Source: thesun
Why tonight’s Supermoon is known as the ‘hunger moon’