FLASH: The 1st Super moon on the Spring equinox in 19 years. This cosmic event will not come again until Y 2030.
Assuming Spring showers stay at bay in your region, sky-watchers in the Northern Hemisphere will get to see a cosmic 3X play on 20 March, as a “Super Worm Moon” lights up the vernal equinox. According to astronomy website EarthSky.org, a full Moon has not landed this close to the 1st day of Spring since the year Y 2000, and the 2 celestial events will not happen less than a day apart again until Y 2030.
Because the Moon’s orbit is egg-shaped, there are times when it is at what astronomers call perigee, or its shortest distance from Earth, and times when it is at apogee, or its farthest distance from Earth. And because the size of the Moon’s orbit varies slightly with each lunar cycle, perigee is not always the same distance from month to month.
At 3:45p EDT (19:45 UT) on 19 March, the Moon will be a just 223,309 miles away from our planet, making for an especially close perigee.
Then, at 9:43p EDT on 20 March (1:43 UT on 21 March), the Moon will officially reach its full phase. As a result of these combined events, the full lunar disk will appear 14% larger and 12% brighter than usual, a spectacle widely known as a Supermoon.
The equinox Supermoon will be the final 1 for 2019. But the year may have saved the best for last, given the coincidental timing with the March equinox at 5:58p EDT (21:58 UT) on 20 March 20, less than 4 hours before the Supermoon arrives.
Astronomers Without Borders will be showcasing the super worm moon rising above Rome, Italy, starting at 12:45p EDT (16:45 UT) on 20 March via the Virtual Telescope Project
Astronomically speaking, the March equinox marks 1 of the 4 major turning points in Earth’s cycle of seasons, Spring.
Celebrate, it is Spring!