It's Time For Another Supermoon, And This One Has Worms
Rise and shine astronomers, it's almost time for the Super Worm Moon -- the third and final supermoon of 2019.
From the same skies that brought you January's Super Blood Moon and February's Super Snow Moon, this month's spectacle will rise on Thursday, March 21.
It'll be visible from both the northern and southern hemispheres, and for the first time since 2000, it will coincide with the March equinox -- marking the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere.
The equinox doesn't influence the size or brightness of the moon, but the correspondence of dates is a rare astronomical coincidence.
Here's everything you need to know about your date with the rock in the sky.
Super (?) moon
The term supermoon isn't an astronomical one.
"Essentially it's a full moon," Dr Rebecca Allen, an astronomer at Swinburne University, told 10 daily.
"Why we call it a supermoon is because as the moon orbits earth, sometimes in its orbit it's a little bit closer than at other times, and so when it's closer it can appear a bit larger."
The moon's orbit is shaped more like an egg than a perfect circle, which is why there are times when it's closer to or further from us.
When we're talking supermoons, the moon is both full and at perigee -- the closest it gets to Earth on its elliptical monthly orbit.
I Believe You Mentioned A Worm?
No, a worm is not going to pop out of the moon on Thursday night -- we didn't intentionally set out to disappoint you.
Supermoons are named to represent the time of year during which they occur.
"These different names are from indigenous peoples and older farmers who would use the phases of the moon to understand more about planting crops and what time of year it is," Allen explained.
In this case, the northern hemisphere's spring equinox marks the time of year the snow begins to disappear -- and the rain brings worms to the surface of the softening soil.
The March equinox marks one of the four major turning points in Earth's cycle of seasons.
For those of us in the southern hemisphere, we're officially heading into autumn.
How Can I See It?
Like any celestial event, the best viewing is in the darkest skies.
If you're really serious about soaking up as much of this thing as possible, jump in your car and start driving. Where? Anywhere. Just point yourself in a direction away from light-polluting cities.
If that's not an option in the middle of a Thursday night, you will still be able to enjoy the supermoon from your backyard.
Weather permitting, the best times to head outside and look up are as follows in each city:
Sydney: 12:42 am
Brisbane: 11:42 pm
Canberra: 12:42 am
Adelaide: 12:12 am
Perth: 9:42 pm
Hobart: 12:42 am
Darwin: 11:12 pm