British Columbia

Don't miss Wednesday's spring worm supermoon — the next one isn't until 2038

Vancouver’s sky will be the backdrop to an unusual lunar occurrence on Wednesday night: the worm supermoon coinciding with the equinox.

The rare lunar occurrence will be visible from Vancouver just after nightfall on March 20

A supermoon is when the moon appears particularly large in the sky because it's both full and at its closest point to the Earth. (Submitted by Micheal Watson )

Vancouver's sky will be the backdrop to an unusual lunar occurrence Wednesday night: the worm supermoon coinciding with the vernal equinox. 

A supermoon occurs when the moon is full at its closest approach to the Earth, making it look larger than normal.

And if you miss it, the next "first-day-of-spring" worm supermoon won't be for another 19 years.

The phrase, worm supermoon, may sound like fiction but the name is based on science.

"Every full moon in each month has a name," said astronomer Kat Kelly, with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.

"The worm is the full moon in March. It comes from a farmer's reference from when the frost breaks, and the worm starts to come up from out of the ground."

Similarly, the full moon in January is known as the wolf moon. October's is the hunter's moon.

Every month, the full moon has a different name. In March, it's called the worm moon and this year it coincides with the start of spring. (Jeremy Porter/Instagram)

No telescope required

Supermoons in themselves aren't particularly rare: they usually happen a few times a year.

This one on March 20 is the last of 2019 and it can be decades before they coincide with another event like the equinox.

"This is one of those celestial events where you really just want to get comfortable and look up," Kelly told CBC's The Early Edition.

"You don't need any special equipment."

The moon is set to rise in Vancouver at 7:10 p.m., which Kelly said is the best time to see it at its largest.

"There is this cool kind of illusion that happens where your brain thinks the moon looks bigger if you can see it near the horizon, because our brains compare it to trees and close objects," she said.

With files from The Early Edition


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