This weekend (28 March) UK skies will light up with the first of two “supermoons” to occur in 2021.
Night sky watchers can see the full “Worm Moon” on this coming Sunday, with views promising to be dazzling.
What is the Worm Moon?
The Worm Moon is the name given to the full moon that appears in March, though it is sometimes known by other names including the Sap Moon, the Crow Moon, the Lenten Moon, the Wind Moon and the Crust Moon.
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The moon is named after worms because of the earthworms that tend to emerge from the ground during spring as winter weather thaws into warmer conditions.
Some of the names given to full moons have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic origins, but most derive from Native American traditions.
Full moons in other months have their own unique names, usually relating to natural events that take place during the month:
-January 28: known as the “Wolf Moon”, after wolves howling outside of Native American villages during the first month of the year.
-February 27: known as the “Snow moon”, for rather obvious reasons.
-March 28: known as the “Worm Moon”.
-April 27: known as the “Pink Moon” because of pink flowers that bloom at this time of year.
-May 26: known as the “Flower Moon” because flowers are in full bloom by this time.
-June 24: known as the “Strawberry Moon” because this time of year is strawberry picking season.
-July 24: known as the “Buck Moon” as this is when bucks start growing antlers.
-August 22: known as the “Sturgeon Moon” because of the readily-available sturgeon fish during August.
-September 21: known as the “Harvest Moon” as this was when Native Americans harvested corn.
-October 20: known as the “Hunter’s Moon” because this was when it was easiest to spot animals and hunt.
-November 19: known as the “Beaver Moon” because this was when beavers were hunted prior to their hibernation.
-December 19: known as the “Cold Moon” because of the cold weather.
What time and where is best to view the moon?
You’ll be able to spot the moon throughout the night on the evening of Sunday, March 28, but the prime time will be in the early hours of Monday when the sky is at its darkest.
For the best view possible, it’s a good idea to get as physically high up as possible - think a big hill or vantage point in your local area.
If you’re moon-gazing from inside your own home, turn off the lights to make it as dark as possible.
Watching the weather forecast will also help you out with the best view - when it’s clearer, the moon will be much brighter in the sky.
What will it look like?
“Supermoons”, which Sunday’s Worm Moon will be, appear much larger and brighter than ordinary full moons.
This type of moon usually occurs once every 14 full moons - around once per year.
They occur when the moon is at its closest point to Earth, thus making it appear much bigger.
When will the next supermoon be?
Usually, we’re only treated to one full moon per year, but this year we’ll be getting two - with the next supermoon due on Monday, April 26 - a Pink Moon.