See the First Spring Equinox Supermoon in 19 Years Tonight
Today, March 20, is the spring equinox. In the northern hemisphere, days will start getting longer, nights shorter, and warmth will flood the land. To celebrate this shift, go outside tonight and check out the supermoon, which will coincidentally be lighting up the sky.
It’s a rare occurrence for a spring equinox to correspond with a supermoon; according to National Geographic, it hasn’t happened since 2000 and won’t again until 2030. Supermoons themselves aren’t so rare; there have already been two this year. Space.com explains that the supermoon is an optical illusion created by the moon’s orbit around Earth, which is more oval than circular:
A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon’s perigee, or the point in its elliptical orbit at which it is closest to Earth. This makes the moon appear up to 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than usual.
However, this is the last supermoon of 2019; it’s also special because it’s a “worm moon.” NBC News reports that this moniker comes from an old folklore story that a full moon during this time corresponds to the ground melting—and all the earthworms start moving around again. The Farmers’ Almanac shared this story about the name:
As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins. For this reason, the March full moon is often known as the Full Worm Moon.
You can look up the time that the moon will be rising in your area on Time and Date, and with clear skies, you should be able to bathe in the glow of a new season. Happy spring!