When to see March’s upcoming full moon

The time has come for March’s full moon to light up the night sky, and if conditions are clear, it may be visible for several nights.

The Full Worm Moon is scheduled to peak in illumination Tuesday morning at 7:40 a.m. EST, meaning much of North America will have to catch the height of the lunar event hours and days before the peak.

NASA expects the moon to appear bright starting Sunday night and could last through Wednesday morning.

The Farmers’ Almanac said the moon got its nickname because the soil in northern latitudes begins to soften during the month, allowing earthworms to emerge.


Similar to other folklore behind the naming of each month’s full moon, the nickname may be a bit of a stretch because March is a still cool month in much of North America, which would generally prevent worm sightings.

According to Penn State’s extension office, the optimal temperature for an earthworm is between 50-60°F, and many do not tolerate freezing weather.

If Punxsutawney Phil or historical temperature data are to be believed, much of the country is still several weeks away from potential freeze and freeze events.

The South usually sees its last freezing point in March, the Midwest follows suit in April, and the Northeast and West are generally the last regions to wave goodbye to Old Man Winter, which happens in May or even later.

Other names for the moon

If you don’t fancy the worm moon moniker, there are at least a dozen other names that March’s full moon goes by.

The Farmers’ Almanac reports that tribes in the northeastern United States referred to the moon as crow, crust, sap, and even the sugar moon.

NASA said it has heard Europeans refer to the March event as the Lenten Moon because it corresponds to the religious period of Lent.

In Sri Lanka, an island country off the coast of India, each full moon is uniquely identified and the event is a public holiday. The events mark important commemorations in Buddhism.

Many other religions and cultures have their own nicknames for the full moon, marking the occasion as a celebration or a point of reflection.


Other planetary delights to watch out for

NASA says Venus and Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, will also dominate the night sky on Tuesday.

If viewing conditions are clear, see the western sky, especially as evening twilight ends.

Earlier this month, the planets were in conjunction, a term used to describe when features appear to be over the same point and eventually pass each other.

Although they appeared close to the night sky, the second and fifth planets in our solar system were more than 400 million miles apart.

As the month progresses, the planets will quickly move in different directions – Venus is set to climb higher each night, while Jupiter will disappear as a visible object until May.


Calendar for the next moon phases

After the full moon, the lunar body will wane to a third quarter state by March 14th and reach new moon status on March 21st.

The next full moon will not rise into the sky until Thursday, April 6, and it will be known as the pink moon.

Due to the moon taking about 354 days to complete 12 full cycles, some years of experience and additional full moons, and 2023 is one of those years.

Thirteen full moons will grace the sky this year, with the additional sighting scheduled to happen at the end of August.

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