Worm Moon 2020 meaning: Why is the March Full Moon called the Worm Moon?

The Worm Moon is the third of this year’s 12 named Full Moon phases. The Worm Moon also happens to be the second Supermoon of the year, meaning it will look bigger and brighter than normal.

When is the Worm Moon this year?

The Worm Moon will dazzle astronomers on the night of Monday, March 9.

Here in the UK, the Moon will reach peak illumination shortly after moonrise, at about 5.47pm GMT.

When the Moon rises, the Sun will still be low on the west-southwest horizon before setting at about 5.55pm GMT.

But the good news is, to the untrained eye, the Moon will appear full for three days centred around the peak.

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What is the meaning behind the Worm Moon? What does its name mean?

Each of the Moon’s 12 full phases carries a unique name that differs across, regions, cultures and religions.

In the western world, many of the lunar names have been adopted from the traditions of Native Americans.

The names would often reflect a change in the landscape, such as the Pink Moon, which is named after a pink ground flower blooming in spring.

The Worm Moon is believed to be named after earthworms rising from the thawing ground after winter.

US space agency NASA said: “The more northern tribes knew this as the Crow Moon when the cawing of crows signalled the end of winter.

The more northern tribes knew this as the Crow Moon

NASA

“Other northern names are the Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing by day and freezing by at night, or the Sap Moon as this is the time for tapping maple trees.”

In some European countries, the Worm Moon is known as the Lenten Moon.

Other names for the March Moon include the Sugar Moon.

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What is a supermoon? How big will the Moon turn next week?

A supermoon occurs whenever a Full Moon approaches within 90 percent of its lunar perigee.

In astronomy, perigee is the lowest point in an orbit and the apogee is the highest point.

A Full Moon at perigee appears slightly bigger and brighter and is known as Supermoon.

A Full Moon at apogee appears smaller and is popularly known as the Micromoon.

The Moon appears at a different distance from Earth every night because its orbit is elliptic and not round.

NASA said: “The farthest point in this ellipse is called the apogee and is about 253,000 miles – 405,500km – from Earth on average.

“It’s closest point is the perigee, which is an average distance of 226,000 miles – 363,300km – from Earth.”

Although the Moon will appear somewhat closer to Earth the difference in size and brightness might be too vague for the naked eye to discern.

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