Sunday, 9 February 2020 saw the first supermoon of the year, aptly named the ‘snow moon’ because in ancient times it was common practice to track the changing seasons by following the lunar month. Now, stargazers will get another chance to witness the glory of a supermoon as the ‘worm moon’ will appear on 9 March 2020.
A supermoon occurs when the moon is in perigee, or closest to the earth whilst in its peak ‘fullness’ (completely illuminated by the sun), meaning the moon appears to be much brighter and larger than usual. As a matter of fact, a supermoon often appears to be up to 30% brighter and 14% larger when compared to a normal moon.
— SPACE.com (@SPACEdotcom) March 7, 2020
According to Farmer’s Almanac, the name ‘worm moon’ originally comes from Native American tribes and is named after the earthworm casts that appear as the ground thaws out for springtime. The 9th of March’s supermoon also goes by the name ‘crow moon’, derived from the cackling of crows that signals the end of winter.
South African stargazers and astronomers will be able to feast their eyes on the worm supermoon on 9 March 2020 at precisely 19:50, with the next supermoons scheduled to take place on 8 April 2020 and 7 May.
For more information on tonight’s worm moon click here.