Astronomers will be able to spot a “worm moon” this Thursday.
Third full moon of the year, it succeeds the wolf moon in January and the snow moon in February.
The Worm Moon is the last full moon of winter and always occurs in March. Last year was a super worm moon, but since the moon is no closer than 10% of its closest distance to earth, this year’s is just your full worm moon.
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Why is it called Worm Moon?
Dan Pye, director of astronomy and space communication at Kielder Observatory, said: “As with all moons, it’s named after something that happens in that particular month when that moon is expected to happen.
“A lot of the terminology we use comes from Native Americans and the worm moon is when worms emerge.”
The Royal Observatory Museum in Greenwich also states: “Native Americans called this last full moon of winter the worm moon after the trails of worms that appeared in the newly thawed ground. Other names include the chaste moon, the moon of death, the crust moon and the sap moon, after the tapping of the maple trees.”
Is there a Worm Moon every year?
Yes, the Worm Moon is the last full moon of winter and occurs every March.
- Try to stay away from street lights, artificial lights, and any other form of light pollution. Try one of the dark sky discovery sites between Hadrian’s Wall and the Cheviot Hills, which offer exceptional dark skies.
- Let your eyes adjust to the dark (which for adults can take about 15-20 minutes). Your eyes will then begin to pick up much more starlight.
- Carry a torch with a red light with you, in case you need to move around at night, as the white light will destroy your dark-adapted vision.
- You can download any of the great free astronomy apps to navigate the night sky. Most apps include a red light setting, so when you watch content on your screen, your night vision isn’t affected.
- Keep warm and comfortable! Dress warmly, and remember to bring gloves, a hot water bottle and an insulated hot water bottle. On a clear night you will notice that it is even colder!
- Be considerate and courteous to nearby residents and wildlife by being aware of noise levels and litter.
When is the moon worm?
The best time to see the Worm Moon is on St. Patrick’s Day evening, Thursday March 17 and early morning on Friday March 18.
According to Science Focus, the easiest time to see the Worm Moon will be after sunset. The Worm Moon will peak at 6:08 p.m. Thursday, but you should be able to see it anytime between 5:17 p.m. March 17 and 6:18 a.m. March 18 (Friday).
If you want to go out and contemplate the Worm Moon, the weather promises to be fine. The Met Office says visibility will be good and should stay dry – although it will be quite cold!
Dan continued: “The good thing is that we don’t have to go anywhere to see the moon better than you can from your backyard because it’s so bright. We don’t need any special conditions, we just need it to be really clear.”
When is the next supermoon?
It’s a while before the next supermoon – which is due in June. This one will be a Strawberry Supermoon.
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