The full Moon is always a sight worth looking at. This March, the full Worm Moon is a little more “super” than usual.
The full Moon is always a spectacular sight: the night sky’s brightest object by far.
At 100% illumination, it’s ~2000 times brighter than the next brightest object, Venus.
On Monday night, March 9, Earth will experience the full Worm Moon, the first of two consecutive supermoons.
Just 13 hours later, the Moon will reach perigee: the closest point in its elliptical orbit to Earth.
The full Moon aligning with perigee is what makes this astronomical event a supermoon.
Compared to an average full Moon, supermoons are 7% larger and 15% brighter.
In the Americas, the Moon will appear brightest in the early part of the night, located near the eastern horizon.
In Europe and Africa, peak brightness occurs as perigee approaches a few hours after maximum fullness, closer to midnight.
In Asia and Australia, the Moon achieves maximum brightness during March 10th’s pre-dawn hours, located in the western skies.
The next supermoon, on the night of April 7/8, will be 2020’s brightest, ~0.5% brighter than this year’s full Worm Moon.
Looking ahead, the brightest supermoon in decades will occur on November 25, 2034, where an exceptionally close perigee and the Moon’s full phase occur just 27 minutes apart.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.Ethan Siegel is the author of Beyond the Galaxy and Treknology. You can pre-order his third book, currently in development: the Encyclopaedia Cosmologica.