Full moon will appear super

The Moon, or Supermoon, is seen as it rises behind the U.S. Capitol, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Washington, DC. A Supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth. (Photo courtesy of NASA/Joel Kowsky)
The Moon, or Supermoon, is seen as it rises behind the U.S. Capitol, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Washington, DC. A Supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closest (perigee) to Earth. (Photo courtesy of NASA/Joel Kowsky)

If the light of the moon was keeping you up last night it’s because the first full moon of spring is March 28 but looks full March 27 and March 29.

And because this spring (Northern Hemisphere) full moon is closer to earth than the ones in January and February it appears brighter and is considered by some sky watchers as a “Supermoon.”

Actually, its perigee (closest part of its orbit) is March 30 so it still will continue to appear very bright and mostly full.

Don’t worry if your area is cloudy. The full moons  in April, May and June will be even closer and will look like Supermoons.

Called  the Worm Moon, Crow Moon or Sap Moon by some native American tribes, this full moon also sets Easter, which, in 2021, is April 4.  See Tonight | EarthSky

Fun Fact:  Do you know what syzygy means?  It’s when three bodies, such as the Sun, Earth, and the Moon, are in alignment. See Time and Date for the term and alignment.

Time and Date also does an excellent job of explaining how long the moon really is fully illuminated and why due to the earth’s tilt it may not appear at total illumination, noting that the degree of illumination somewhat blends what appears to be a Full Moon and the last stage of a Waxing Gibbous Moon or the beginning of a Waning Gibbous Moon.

On NASA’s site a sidebar tells that the term “supermoon” was “coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a new or full Moon that occurs when the Moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth.’

The site also connects the first spring moon’s names from native Americans and different religions. It notes that this weekend’s Full moon is also called the Pesach moon on the Jewish calendar, Paschal moon for Western Christianity and Medin in SRI Lanka.

For more word definitions and moon phases visit Space.

See last supermoon of the year

 

Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)
Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)

Often called the Flower Moon or the Planting Moon, the early May moon appearing May 7 will be the last of the full supermoons in 2020. Best time to see it is at 5:45 a.m. CT. It will also seem at its full super size the next day.

There was one in March and one in April. Now comes the third and last one. The reason full is used before the term supermoon is because the orbits of some new moons also go close to Earth making them super in size if you saw them.

But the moon in its new phase doesn’t reflect the sun. So to enjoy a moon that appears super-sized because it is close to Earth you have to watch for it in its full phase when it fully reflects the sun.

Supermoon is a name given to our moon when it is within 90 percent of its closet approach to earth. The closeness does make it seem super sized but that is an illusion.

To find more background information check these two resources: NASA/full moon supermoon and EarthSky/full supermoon.

RELATED: https://travelsmartwithjodie.com/2020/04/07/supermoon-tonight/

Supermoon tonight

Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)
Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)

The largest looking full moon, a really supermoon of 2020 will be brightening your neighborhood tonight if the sky isn’t cloudy where you are.

The reason we say that largest looking  is that its size is an optical illusion. The moon looks larger because its orbit brings it closer.

For April 7, he moon’s closest orbital point to earth, called the perigee, has coincided with the moon’s full phase and will be closest at 10:35 p.m. EDT.

Super and even just full moons have been given lots of nicknames. The April  one is often called the “Pink” moon. The Pink moon will look almost as good the evenings of April 6 and April 8, if the sky is clear.

If weather isn’t cooperating mark the calendar for May 7 for the “Flower” super full moon. Just think of the overused but usually true adage of April rain bringing May flowers.

For a fun look at the night sky and the moon visit Space/fullmoon/calendar because it has an interesting video from the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The next closest moons will be in the new moon phase which doesn’t reflect the sun. They come the middle of September, October and November. However, the full moon Oct. 1 is the Harvest Moon and Oct. 31 has the Blue Moon, as in the saying “once in a blue moon” because there will be two full moons in one month

Related 2020 article: Super March Monday is about moons

Related 2019 article: March supermoon marks spring

 

Super March Monday is about moons

Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)
Supermoon seen in Chicago. ( J Jacobs photo)

Yes if you saw a mostly full moon Saturday night it did appear larger and brighter than usual. It was your first glimpse of the first 2020 supermoon which is at its fullest on Monday, March 9 at 1:48 p.m. EDT. However, it’s fine to look for it Sunday night.

The reason it looks larger is because its elliptical course brings it closer to earth on March 9.. The close point is called the perigee as opposed to the far point which is the apogee.

At 222.081 miles from earth it looms large but the next full moon an April 8 will be even closer at 221,851 miles.

This March supermoon has several nicknames including the “Worm Moon” because worms are said to begin to come out of the soil about this time.

For more information about supermoons visit NASA/supermoon and Space.

Other good astronomy information sites include EarthSky or Time and Date and Almanac.

March supermoon marks spring

 

Watch for a supermoon March 20.. (Jodie Jacobs photo)
Watch for a supermoon March 20.. (Jodie Jacobs photo)

Look up the night of March 20-21. There will be a supermoon. A supermoon is a full moon (or new moon but you don’t see the new moons even if they are super) that just about coincides with when the moon’s egg-shaped orbit puts it at its perigee, the closest point to earth during that month’s orbit. It happens Tuesday.

This supermoon also coincides with the Northern Hemisphere’s spring equinox. In the Southern Hemisphere it is autumnal equinox. Vacationers take that opposite season into consideration when planning a trip.

You’re right if you think you just saw a suspermoon. The closest supermoon of 2019 was Feb. 19, the middle supermoon of a series of three that occurred Jan. 21, happened again in mid February and ends with the one this week March 20-21.

But this one comes on what is the spring equinox north of the equator and fall equinox south of the equator. Also called the vernal equinox, it is when the Sun is exactly above the equator during the Earth’s axis movement from south to north.

Until this date, the Sun rises and sets somewhat south of the equator. After this date it rises and sets more to the north of the equator.  You will likely start noticing the sun beginning to shine on a different part of your property.

What else can you expect? The moon will look larger, mostly as it rises around sunset which is a moon illusion. But this supermoon will also look brighter and ts pull also has a tidal impact. Some people might even complain of sinus headaches.

Of course you will see monthly full moons this year but the one coming up in mid-March is the last of the 2019 supermoons so mark it on your calendar.

For more information visit Earth/Sky.