Big news for the parents of aspiring astronauts, astronomers, and plain old stargazers: The first, biggest, and brightest supermoon of the year is coming on Monday.
The moon will reach peak fullness at 1:48 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, but there will be a pretty good show starting on Sunday night and continuing through Tuesday night. And with temperatures fairly mild across most of the country, it’s a great excuse to head outside and ponder life’s great mysteries with your kids, no telescope necessary.
It’s also a super worm moon, so-called because a traditional Native American name for a March full moon is a worm moon, a reference to the earthworms emerging from ground that was until recently frozen solid.
According to NASA, a perigean full moon happens when the moon is both in its full phase and at its perigee, at the point in its elliptical orbit where it’s closest to earth. The term “perigean full moon” is a bit of a mouthful, however, so the more informal “supermoon” came into use in 1979.
Monday’s moon will be 222,081 miles away, or 16,000 miles closer than average. That may not seem like much, but it means the moon will look up to 14 percent larger to a moon and 30 percent brighter than it does at its apogee, the point at which it’s farthest from the earth.
If you have a busy schedule and/or cloudy skies this weekend, you can still check out supermoons in both April and May, though neither will be quite as impressive as this one because the moon won’t be quite as close. But after those, we won’t have another until 2021.