Tonight: Supermoon glows bright on 1st night of spring
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
March 20, 2019, 9:53:48 PM EDT
Wednesday marks the official start to spring in the Northern Hemisphere and just hours later, stargazers will be able to see something that won’t be visible again until 2020.
“The Vernal Equinox occurs at 5:58 p.m. EDT on March 20,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said. “The moon becomes full only a few hours later at 9:43 p.m. EDT. “
This full moon will be the third and final supermoon of the year with the next supermoon not set to rise until Feb. 9, 2020. Supermoons appear slightly bigger and brighter than normal full moons.
“Interestingly enough, the March full moon will also be the first full moon of meteorological spring [which began on March 1],” Samuhel said.
(AP Photo/J. David Ake)
(Photo/Jennifer Rose Lane)
(Photo/National Weather Service office in Seattle)
(Photo/Chris Hattings/National Weather Service office in Riverton, Wyoming)
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
The Vernal Equinox signals the changing of the seasons around the globe, marking the transition from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the flip from summer to autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
“The equinox occurs when the Earth reaches a point in its orbit around the sun where the sun’s rays fall directly on the equator,” Samuhel said.
“Day and night will be roughly the exact same length across the entire globe,” he added.
Just hours after the changing of the astronomical seasons, the full moon will climb above the horizon.
These two events are falling unusually close to each other; however, it will not make the moon appear any different than any other time throughout the year.
“The last time the full moon and the spring equinox coincided this closely (4 hours apart) was in March 2000, but the last time they occurred on the same date was on March 20, 1981,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac said on its website.
March’s full moon is always given the nickname of the Worm Moon.
“Traditionally, the moon we see in March is called the Full Worm Moon. At this time of the year, the ground begins to soften enough for earthworm casts to reappear, inviting robins and birds to feed—a true sign of spring,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac reported.
Other nicknames for March’s full moon include the Sap Moon, the Crow Moon and the Lenten Moon.
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