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March supermoon, a 'worm moon,' will dazzle skies Monday

Get your telescope ready for a bright show.

A brilliant full moon rises at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida in 2017.
NASA/Kim Shiflett

The next supermoon of the year will put on a bright show Monday night. A supermoon occurs when a full moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, called "perigee," making it brighter and bigger than a regular full moon.

The moon will reach peak fullness at 10:48 a.m. PT on Monday, the Old Farmer's Almanac notes, and then will be at perigee Monday at 11:31 p.m. PT, according to NASA. But if you're not planning to be up at that hour, you've got other time slots for viewing. The moon will appear full from Sunday through Tuesday night.

Full moons are given nicknames according to the month they occur. March's many full moon nicknames, as used in the Old Farmer's Almanac, include the Halloweeny-sounding worm moon and the crow moon. 

The Almanac reports that the worm moon nickname comes from the fact that in many parts of the US, March is when the ground softens and earthworm casts (yep, their poop) begin to reappear. That encourages birds come out to snack on it. Yum?

The next full moon will also be a supermoon, and will occur in a month, on April 7. The last supermoon occurred a month ago, over the weekend of Feb. 9. Last September saw a rare moon that wasn't a supermoon, but made headlines for being a nationwide full moon that was visible on the spooky date of Friday the 13th.

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