Time to set your iPhone camera to night mode.
That’s because on Monday, March 9, the first supermoon of the year is making an appearance in night skies around the globe. The phenomenon, known as the “Worm Moon,” will bring the big, shiny rock about 16,000 miles closer to earth than usual, according to USA Today.
Supermoons, which take place when the moon is both full and unusually close to earth, aren’t a totally uncommon occurrence. This year, there will be three in total, with the second and third coming in April and May, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
But this first appearance, which comes immediately after daylight saving time, will be the first chance to witness the moon shining up to 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than normal.
When to catch the ‘full worm’ supermoon
According to NASA, the supermoon will peak at 1:48 p.m. E.T. on Monday, which is (checks watch) definitely still daytime if you live in the U.S.
But there’s also good news. The phenomenon is expected to last well into the evening, meaning those who miss out during the afternoon should turn their eyes to the sky just as the sun begins to set.
Why is it called a ‘Worm Moon?’
The concept of a “Worm Moon” actually goes back hundreds of years, when Native Americans in the northern and eastern U.S. gave traditional names to bright, astronomical events that often tied directly to harvest seasons.
This supermoon was no different. The “Worm Moon” comes at a time when earthworms begin emerging from the now-warming soil, indicating that spring is on the horizon.
“At this time of the year, the ground begins to soften enough for earthworm casts to reappear, inviting robins and other birds to feed — a true sign of spring,” the Farmer’s Almanac states. “Roots start to push their way up through the soil, and the Earth experiences a re-birth as it awakens from its winter slumber.”
There are other, slightly less exciting names for the March supermoon — including the Full Sap Moon, the Crow Moon and the Lenten Moon — but Worm Moon is the most common.
“Supermoon,” meanwhile, is just a nickname given to perigee, the technical term for an orbiting object reaching its closest point to earth. When the moon is at its furthest from the earth, that’s known as apogee (or a “micromoon”).
The next supermoon, which is on April 7 this year, is called the “Pink Moon.”
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