Full 'worm' moon rises Thursday: What to know about March's rare full moons
A full moon, nicknamed the "worm moon," will grace the night's sky Thursday. (Sergio EstupiÃ±Ã¡n Vesga)
Stargazers, get your binoculars ready: a full moon, nicknamed the "worm moon" will grace the night's sky Thursday, and it will be the final one of the winter season.
It's just the start of what will be a breathtaking month. Another full moon, known as a "blue moon," will pop up on March 31.
Full moons aren't exactly rare. They occur, on average, every 29.53 days (12.37 times per year), Space.com reported. But to catch a glimpse of one twice in one month is a spe cial treat. It only happens every three years or so.
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It's even more special to spot two blue moons in one year.
There's almost always a full moon in February. In fact, the month is only without a full moon every 19 years.
"The last time Februa ry didn't have a full moon was in 1999, and the time before that was 1980," Space.com reported. "The next time there will be no full moon in February will be 2037."
Because February only had 28 days, this year's full moon carried over to March, confirming the March 31 full moon would be a "blue" one.
Here's what you need to know about March's upcoming full moons â" the "worm moon" and the "blue moon" â" which occur on March 1 and March 31, respectively.
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What is a "worm moon"?
The March 1 moon was dubbed the "worm moon" by the Old Farmer's Almanac in the 1930s because it's a sign spring is finally arriving.
It was named "worm moon" after "earthworm casts that appear as the ground thaws," NASA wrote in a post online.
Southerners are more li kely to use the term because of they have an abundance of earthworms, unlike the northern part of the U.S.
"When glaciers covered the northern part of North America they wiped out the native earthworms," NASA explained. "These glaciers melted about 12,000 years ago and the forests grew back without earthworms."
While "worm moon" is the moon's most popular nickname, there are several other names for the last full moon of winter, including: the sugar moon, crow moon, crust moon and the corn moon.
When can I see it?
A parade of planets, including Jupiter, Mars and Saturn will be visible in from March 4 to March 11. (Photo courtesy of NASA/Newsmakers)
You'll have the best view of the March 1 "worm moon" at approximately 7:51 p.m. ET, which is when peak fullness will occur.
If you can't catch it then, don't worry: the moon will appear full for at least three days â" from Thursday night through Saturday morning, according to NASA.
Anything else I should know?
A parade of planets, including Jupiter, Mars and Saturn, along with the bright star Antares, will also be visible throughout the end of this week and the beginning of the next.
The moon shifts a reported 12 degrees each night, giving skywatchers a good view of a string of planets.
A "blue moon" is the second full moon to appear within the same month. (Tomsajinsa)
"From March 4 to March 11, the Moon will shift along this line of stars and planets, appearing near the bright star Spica on March 4, between Spica and Jupiter on March 5, near Jupiter on March 7, between Mars and Jupiter, and above the bright star Antares on March 8, near Mars on March 9, between Mars and Saturn on March 10, and near Saturn on March 11," NASA explained.
At the end of the month, when the "blue moon" rises, Saturn and Mars will appear together.
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What is a "blue moon"?
The term "blue moon" has been around since the 1940s. As we explained above, the name is simply used to distinct the full moon as the second to appear within a calendar month.
When can I see it?
Unlike the "worm moon," the"blue moon" will reach peak fullness early in the morning at approximately 8:37 a.m. ET on March 31.Source: Google News US Science | Netizen 24 United States