THE FULL WORM MOON ON THE SPRING EQUINOX
In 2019, the full Moon of March rises 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.
This is one of those rare years when the full Moon lands right smack on the spring equinox—on March 20, 2019, in North America. This only happens three times a century, on average. Plus, it’s the third and final “supermoon.” Enjoy the extra-bright equinox full moon Wednesday night!
Here’s a video, featuring Amy Nieskens
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.)