(WBOY) — If you’ve taken a look at the night sky over the past few nights, you’re bound to have noticed a big shining full(-ish) moon gracing the night sky. Normally this wouldn’t mean anything special, but as you may have heard, this moon is a Worm Moon.
So what exactly does this mean? Over the course of a year, there are several named full moons, all set to occur at about the same time every year, each named after different seasonal markers, according to the Old Farmers Almanac. The names typically used have Native American, Colonial American, and European sources, mainly as nicknames used for the lunar cycles that occur roughly every month.
The Worm Moon is the moon for March, and for some, it takes its name from the fact that earthworms begin to reappear around this time of year, bringing birds back out to feed. It signals the end of winter and the start of regrowth in nature.
However, this is not the only explanation. According to the Old Farmers Almanac, another theory surrounding the name comes from explorer Captain Jonathan Carver and his visits with the Naudowessie (Dakota) tribe in the 1760s. Carver said the tribe referred to the “worms” as beetle larvae that began to emerge in the spring from thawing tree bark, which creates a similar bird-summoning effect as earthworms.
The Worm Moon was in the night sky on Monday and will be again on Tuesday, when it is set to reach its peak illumination at 7:42 a.m. ET. So if you missed out on the first night, you have another chance.
The almanac also told stargazers who may be getting some rain to keep an eye out for a rare phenomenon known as a “moonbow.”
Moonbows are similar to rainbows except moonlight is reflected instead of sunlight, creating a fantastic solar event. However, moonbows only occur when the moon is on the horizon, so be ready!