March Supermoon: Get Ready for a “Worm Moon” That’ll Light up the Sky

Get ready! On Monday March 9, Earth's Moon will appear 7% larger and 15% brighter during an event dubbed the Super Worm Moon.

On March 9, 2020, we will have the opportunity to appreciate another supermoon of 2020. The cosmic event dubbed a “Worm Moon” or Super Worm Moon ill see Earth’s faithful satellite light up the night sky (depending on where you are located) offering sky gazers an excellent opportunity to appreciate Earth’s satellite.

A supermoon is a cosmic event that, although it may sound rare, actually takes place anywhere from six to eight times a year.

What exactly is a Supermoon?

A Supermoon is a Full Moon that is at its closest distance to Earth in its orbit. The term Supermoon isn’t an actual astronomical event, but the name was coined by an astrologer called Richard Nolle in 1979. Nolle explained that a “super” moon was “a new or full moon which occurs with the Moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in an orbit (perigee).”

Because of the fool moon and thanks to its closest distance to Earth on Monday, the Moon will appear 7% larger and 15% brighter. The cosmic event will be appreciated both on Monday and Tuesday.

You’ll have the opportunity to watch the Super Worm Moon at 5:48 p.m. Universal Time (you can convert the time to your time zone by clicking here.) At 5:48 pm, on Monday, March 9, the moon will be at its full glow as it takes on the rays of the sun. At that moment, the Moon will be located at a distance of 222,081 miles/357,404 km from Earth in front of the constellation of Leo.

For people located in Europe, the Super Worm Moon coincides with moonrise on Monday, making it the best location to see the cosmic event.

For Americans, on the other hand, the super worm Moon will occur during daylight hours.

An artists rendering showing how bigger a supermoon is compared to a normal full moon. Image Credit: NASA.
An artist’s rendering showing how bigger a supermoon is compared to a normal full moon. Image Credit: NASA.

We can thank the Mon’s orbit around Earth for Super Moons. The Moon’s perigee distance can vary between approximately 356,400 – 370,400 kilometers, and its apogee between 404,000–406,700 km. Depending on the Perigee or apogee, the Moon can appear larger or smaller.

Besides the phrase Super Moon, there’s also a Micro Full Moon. The Micro Full Moon happens when a full moon coincides with the apogee when Earth’s natural satellite is at its farthest distance from the Earth in its orbit. A Micro Moon is also called a Minimoon or Apogee Moon.

During a Micro Full Moon, Earth’s natural satellite may appear as much as 14% smaller when compared to a Supermoon. Furthermore, the Moon’s illuminated area may seem as much as 30% smaller, the reason why the Moon may look less bright during a micro full Moon.

Why “Worm Moon”?

The names the full Moon’s receive vary depending on the month they take place. March’s full moon has various nicknames, as used in the Old Farmer’s Almanac, reports CNET.

The Almanac reports that the worm moon nickname originates from the fact that in many parts of the continental United States, March is when the ground softens and earthworm casts begin to reappear. This process encourages birds to come out to snack on it.

Eeeew.

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