Spring to kick off with final supermoon of 2019
Mar 20, 2019 07:03AM
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer from AccuWeather.com - March 20, 2019
Wednesday marks the official start to spring in the Northern Hemisphere and just hours later, stargazers will be able to see something that won’t be visible again until 2020.
“The Vernal Equinox occurs at 5:58 p.m. EDT on March 20,” AccuWeather Astronomy Blogger Dave Samuhel said. “The moon becomes full only a few hours later at 9:43 p.m. EDT. “
This full moon will be the third and final supermoon of the year with the next supermoon not set to rise until Feb. 9, 2020. Supermoons appear slightly bigger and brighter than normal full moons.
“Interestingly enough, the March full moon will also be the first full moon of meteorological spring [which began on March 1],” Samuhel said.
The full moon rises behind the New York City skyline, including the Empire State Building, center, and the Chrysler Building, left, as seen from downtown Newark, N.J., Sunday, March 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
The Vernal Equinox signals the changing of the seasons around the globe, marking the transition from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere and the flip from summer to autumn in the Southern Hemisphere.
“The equinox occurs when the Earth reaches a point in its orbit around the sun where the sun’s rays fall directly on the equator,” Samuhel said.
“Day and night will be roughly the exact same length across the entire globe,” he added.
Just hours after the changing of the astronomical seasons, the full moon will climb above the horizon.
These two events are falling unusually close to each other; however, it will not make the moon appear any different than any other time throughout the year.
“The last time the full moon and the spring equinox coincided this closely (4 hours apart) was in March 2000, but the last time they occurred on the same date was on March 20, 1981,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac said on its website.
FULL MOON FOR MARCH 2019
THE FULL WORM MOON
In 2019, the full Moon of March rises on the same day as the vernal equinox—marking the start of spring! How fitting for what we call the “Full Worm Moon.” March also brings the final supermoon of 2019. Here’s all you need to know.
SUPER MOON ON THE SPRING EQUINOX
The March full Moon is particularly special because it reaches its peak on the same day as the spring equinox, on March 20, 2019. The last time the full Moon and the spring equinox coincided this closely (4 hours apart) was in March 2000, but the last time they occurred on the same date was on March 20, 1981!
This full Moon is also a supermoon, meaning the Moon will be nearly at its closest to Earth for the month of March. It’s the year’s third (and final) of three straight full supermoons. This means that the Moon may “appear” brighter and bigger than normal, provided the night sky is clear and dark.
THE FULL MOON AND EASTER
Did you know: Easter Sunday (in the Western Christian Church) is celebrated on the first Sunday after the full Moon that occurs on or just after the vernal equinox.
Since the full Moon AND the vernal equinox both fall on March 20 this year (in North America, at least), you might expect that Easter Sunday would be on the following Sunday, March 24.
However, for simplicity’s sake, the Church set a fixed date for the equinox, March 21.Additionally, the Church does not rely on the date of the astronomical full Moon, but rather the ecclesiastical full Moon, which occurs on the 14th day of the ecclesiastical lunar month. The date of the ecclesiastical full Moon may fall one to two days before the astronomical full Moon. Therefore, because the first full Moon after March 21 doesn’t occur until April 19 this year, Easter Sunday 2019 falls on Sunday, April 21!
(This is not the first time the church’s “set” equinox and astronomy’s “moving” equinox affected Easter’s date; it last happened in 1981 and will happen again in 2038.)
MOON PHASES FOR MARCH 2019
All dates and times are Eastern Time. See the Moon Phase Calendar for your city/state.
(Full Moon: 9:43 p.m. EDT, 8:43 p.m. CDT, 7:43 p.m. MDT, 6:43 p.m. PDT, 5:43 p.m. AKDT and 3:43 p.m. HST.)
|New Moon: March 6, 11:04 A.M. EDT|
|First Quarter: March 14, 6:27 A.M. EDT|
|Full Moon: March 20, 9:43 P.M. EDT|
|Last Quarter: March 28, 12:10 A.M. EDT|
Note: In Universal Time/England, the full moon comes on March 21 in case you calendar reflects this.)
MARCH FULL MOON NAMES
Historically, Native American and other traditional names for full Moons were used to track the seasons. Note that each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred.
Traditionally, the Moon we see in March is called the Full Worm Moon. At this time of the year, the ground begins to soften enough for earthworm casts to reappear, inviting robins and birds to feed—a true sign of spring. 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 many alternative names for the March Moon. One name was the Full Sap Moon, as this is the time of year when the sap of sugar maples starts to flow.
See all Full Moon names and their meanings.
An alternative name for March’s full Moon is the Full Sap Moon, as this is the time of year when the sap of sugar maples starts to flow.