As winter slowly comes to an end, the final full moon of the season is set to light up the sky this week. Known as the worm moon, it is named after the creatures that begin to emerge from their winter hideouts as spring approaches.
This moon is a significant event for sky-watchers, and it coincides with another celestial phenomenon that makes it even more special.
The worm moon was given its name by Native American tribes in the 18th century, who noticed that the ground would begin to soften, and earthworms would emerge, a sign that spring was on its way. This moon is also known as the crow moon, crust moon, and sap moon in different parts of the world.
This year, the worm moon is set to reach peak illumination at 7:42 a.m. ET on Tuesday, March 7, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. However, those who are lucky enough to look up at the right time might also witness a breathtaking planetary phenomenon.
Venus and Jupiter will be positioned closely in the western sky right after sunset, creating a conjunction. This means that the two planets will appear to be very close to each other, almost as if they are touching.
Operations manager for the American Meteor Society, Mike Hankey, described the conjunction as “prominent positioning” and “close” in an email. He also explained that the planets will be setting as the moon rises, making them visible for only about an hour at sunset near the western horizon.
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To witness this celestial event, all you need to do is find a spot with an unobstructed view of the western horizon and wait for the sunset. The planets will appear as two bright dots close together, and the moon will slowly rise in the east.
Conjunctions are a rare sight and occur when two celestial bodies appear close to each other in the night sky. Jupiter and Venus are two of the brightest planets in our solar system, and their alignment with the moon is sure to create a breathtaking spectacle.
As winter comes to an end, the worm moon is a reminder that spring is on its way, and with it, a new beginning. The conjunction of Venus and Jupiter with the moon is a special event that only adds to the excitement and wonder of the changing seasons. So, take a moment to look up at the sky and witness this beautiful display of nature’s beauty.
As the worm moon lights up the sky this week, those lucky enough to get a bit of rain on Monday or Tuesday night might just get the chance to spot a moonbow. Moonbows are produced by the moonlight refracting through water droplets in the air, much like a solar rainbow.
However, moonbows are much rarer than their solar counterparts and can only be seen when a full moon is low in the sky.
According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, moonbows can be seen after sunset when the sky is dark. The rain droplets in the air create a prism-like effect, splitting the moonlight into different colors, resulting in a stunning display of a moonbow. So, if you happen to catch a little rain on Monday or Tuesday night, be sure to look out for this magical sight.
2023 is set to be an exceptional year for full moons, with a total of 13 full moons instead of the usual 12. Two of these full moons, both in August, will also be supermoons, making them an especially captivating sight in the night sky.
Supermoons occur when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, called the perigee. As a result, supermoons appear larger and brighter than normal full moons, making them a popular event among skywatchers.
The first supermoon of 2023 will occur on August 1st and is known as the Sturgeon Moon. This name comes from Native American fishing tribes who would catch sturgeon in the Great Lakes during this time of year.
The Sturgeon Moon will be followed by another supermoon on August 30th, which also happens to be a Blue Moon, the term used when there are two full moons in one calendar month.
But that’s not all there is to look forward to in terms of full moons in 2023. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has compiled a list of all the remaining full moons for the year, each with its own unique name.
Pink, Strawberry, and More
April 6th will bring the Pink Moon, which is named after the wildflowers that bloom during this time of year. The Flower Moon, named after the flowers that bloom in May, will follow on May 5th. June’s full moon is the Strawberry Moon, named for the time when Native American tribes would gather strawberries.
July’s full moon is identified as the Buck Moon, named after the time of year when male deer begin to grow their antlers. After the two supermoons in August comes September’s Harvest Moon, which is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox and was named after the time of year when farmers would harvest their crops.
October’s full moon is also known as the Hunter’s Moon, named after the time of year when Native American tribes would hunt to stock up for the winter. November’s full moon is named after the beavers who would be active building their winter dams during this time. Finally, December’s full moon is known as the Cold Moon, named after the chilly temperatures of winter.
2023 is shaping up to be a spectacular year for skywatchers, with plenty of full moons to appreciate and marvel at. So mark your calendars and make sure to take the time to be awed by the beauty of the cosmos.
In 2023, there will be a total of four eclipses, consisting of two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses.
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On April 20, a total solar eclipse will be visible to those in Australia, Southeast Asia, and Antarctica. This spectacular event occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth, blocking the sun’s rays from reaching the planet.
Later in the year, on October 14, an annular solar eclipse will occur and be visible across North, Central, and South America. When the moon is positioned at or near its furthest distance from Earth, it appears smaller than the sun, leading to a type of eclipse that produces a luminous ring around the moon.
In addition to solar eclipses, lunar eclipses will also occur in 2023. On May 5, a penumbral lunar eclipse will be visible to those in Africa, Asia, and Australia, as the moon passes through the faint, outer part of Earth’s shadow.
People residing in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, some areas of North America, and a significant portion of South America will be able to observe a partial lunar eclipse on October 28. During this event, the sun, Earth, and moon do not completely align, resulting in only part of the moon passing into shadow.
It is necessary to wear proper eclipse glasses when viewing solar eclipses to avoid eye damage from the sun’s rays. Lunar eclipses, on the other hand, do not require any special equipment to observe, making them a popular event for skywatchers of all ages. Be sure to mark the calendars and make plans to witness these breathtaking celestial events.