The Supermoon arrives just one month after the beautiful February Snow Moon lit up the night skies. Sometimes known as the Worm Moon, tonight’s Full Moon is also the Crust Moon, Sap Moon, Sugar Moon and Lenten Moon.
The Moon will appear tonight (Monday, March 9) and when viewed from the UK, will peak at about 5.47pm GMT.
The peak will occur when the Moon’s Earth-facing will position itself directly across from the Sun.
At the same time, the Moon will approach its lowest orbit of Earth, making it slightly bigger and brighter than usual.
NASA’s Gordon Johnston said: “This Full Moon is a Supermoon.
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“The term ‘Supermoon’ was coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a New or Full Moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90 percent of perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.
“By this definition, in a typical year there can be three or four Full Supermoons in a row and three or four New Supermoons in a row.
“In practice, what catches the public’s attention are the Full Moons that appear biggest – and therefore brightest – each year.”
Click here to find out how many Supermoons we will see this year.
On top of being a Supermoon, tonight’s Full Moon also has a rich history behinds its more unusual names.
According to The Maine Farmer’s Almanac, the last Full Moon of winter is often known as the World Moon, Sap Moon, Crown Moon or Crust Moon.
This Full Moon is a Supermoon
Gordon Johnston, NASA
The nicknames are derived from the naming traditions of Native American tribes who would use them to keep track of time.
For instance, the Pink Moon in April is named after a type of pink flower that blooms around the start of Spring.
Then in May, the Full Strawberry Moon signalled wild strawberries were ripening and will soon be good to gather.
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Mr Johnston said: “The more northern tribes of the northeastern United States knew this as the Crow Moon, when the cawing of crows signalled the end of winter.
“Other northern names were the Crust Moon, because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing by night, or the Sap Moon as this is the time for tapping maple trees.”
More southern tribes would call this Full Moon the Worm Moon after the earthworms crawling out of the thawing ground.
In Europe, however, the Moon may be known as the Lenten Moon because of its proximity to Lent and Easter.
Tonight’s Moon also coincides with the Hindu festival of Holi.
Mr Johnston said: “As the Full Moon in the Hindu month Phalguna, this Moon corresponds with the spring festival Holi, which among other things includes a free-for-all game involving the spraying of coloured powders and/or coloured water on whoever passes by.”
Full Moons are also important in Sri Lanka where they are known as Poya days.
This Full Moon observes the Media Poya, which commemorates the Buddha visiting his father after achieving enlightenment.
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