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Worm Moon 2022: How to see March’s full Moon in the UK tonight

Published: 17th March, 2022 at 12:00
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Find out when you can see this week's full Moon, and the last full Moon of winter, the Worm Moon, at its biggest and brightest.

The third full Moon of the year, the Worm Moon, shares its month with the spring equinox, and if you’re an early riser, you’re bound to have spotted Venus as it continues to dominate the morning sky.

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But when exactly can you see the Worm Moon? And which constellations will it appear in? Answers to this, and more, in this article, how to see the Worm Moon in 2022.

For those who missed it, you can check out our fantastic gallery of the best Wolf Moon pictures, the first full Moon of 2022. If you’re looking forward to clear nights this year, why not plan ahead with our full Moon UK calendar and astronomy for beginners guide?

When can I see the Worm Moon 2022?

The Worm Moon can be seen in the evening of St Patrick’s Day, Thursday 17 March 2022 and in the early morning of Friday 18 March 2022 in the UK and around the world.

On Thursday 17 March, from London, the Worm Moon will rise from the east-northeast at 5:17pm and will set in the west at 6:38am on Friday 18 March.

Peak illumination of the Worm Moon occurs at 7:18am on the morning of 18 March 2022, which is after the Moon has set here in the UK (6:38am). As sunrise occurs at 6:18am on the 18 March, if you’re an early riser you’ll be able to see the Worm Moon low on the horizon, and briefly in the very early morning sky, weather permitting.

The easiest time to see the Worm Moon at its brightest will be in the evening of 17 March after the Sun has set at 6:08pm, and the Moon has risen higher in the sky above the horizon.

When can I see the Worm Moon?
The Worm Moon is the last full Moon of winter © Getty

If you’re unable to see the Worm Moon at its peak, it will also appear full on St Patrick’s Day the night before, as well as the day after. On 16 March, two days before the full Worm Moon, the Moon will be 4.9° north of Regulus, the brightest star in the constellation Leo the Lion. After that, it will pass between Regulus and Algieba, a binary star that makes up the base of the sickle in Leo, and the second brightest in the constellation after Regulus.

Later on in the month, on 28 March, when the Moon is in its waning crescent phase, you’ll be able to view it in the company of three planets: Mars, Saturn and Venus, the latter of which will appear very bright in the morning sky.

The Worm Moon is the last full Moon of winter.

Why do moonrise and moonset times change?

Just like the Sun, the Moon climbs above the horizon and sinks back down daily. However, because the Moon takes around 27 and a half days (27 days, 7 hours and 43 minutes to be precise) to orbit the Earth, this causes an apparent shift in the position of the Moon, moving 12-13 degrees towards the east, every day.

Therefore, the Earth has to rotate for a little longer each day, to bring the Moon into view, causing it to rise approximately 50 minutes later each day.

Moonrise and Moonset times, GMT

16 March

Moonset: 6:06am

Moonrise: 3:49pm

17 March

Moonset: 6:23am

Moonrise: 5:07pm

18 March

Moonset: 6:38am

Moonrise: 6:26pm

19 March

Moonset: 6:52am

Moonrise: 7:47pm

Photograph of a full Moon during the day
The Worm Moon will rise during daylight hours on 17 March 2022, and reach full at 7:18am on the morning of 18 March 2022. © Getty

Why is it called the Worm Moon?

Look out, look out - there are worms about! Or so goes the namesake, as March’s full Moon is called the Worm Moon. It’s also called the Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon, Sugar Moon, or Lenten Moon, but Worm Moon is most popular in the UK.

You’ve probably already guessed it, but the name derives from – earthworms! As the weather starts to warm at the end of winter, we see a seasonal resurgence of earthworms as they become more active in the soil, and are sometimes seen at the surface.

So, when you’re looking up at the Moon this week, be sure to look down as well, and you might catch a glimpse of its wriggling namesake; an indication that spring is only a few days away.

How is Easter determined?

Easter is determined using a lunar calendar, called the ecclesiastical calendar, where Easter Sunday falls on the first Sunday after the full Moon following the spring equinox.

This year, the spring equinox is on Sunday 20 March, two days after the Worm Moon.

Therefore, Easter falls after the next full Moon, which is the Pink Moon on Saturday 16 April. As it happens, the first Sunday after this full Moon is the very next day – so Easter Sunday 2022 will be Sunday 17 April.

Other March full Moon names

The name, 'Crow Moon', derives from the more popular Worm Moon name, as corvids react to the increase of tasty worms within easy reach. After the long, hard winter months, it is a welcome feast for the birds.

Why is it called the Worm Moon?
As worms enjoy a seasonal resurgence, birds also enjoy the return of their food source after the winter © Getty

Sap Moon is often used in Canada, as it coincides with the time when maple trees may be tapped for their sap, usually beginning around the first week of March. Ideally, temperatures should alternate between freezing at night, with thawing occurring during the day, where temperatures are between around 4°C and 10°C.

Before the winter freeze, maple trees store starch in their trunks, which is converted into sugar. Then, as the weather warms and spring approaches, the sap thaws and the sugar from the sap rises up the tree. Sap, of course, is used to make maple syrup.

The term Lenten Moon comes from the Old English, or Anglo-Saxon name, and applies if the full Moon occurs during Lent, the Christian preparation for Easter.

Is the Worm Moon in 2022 a supermoon?

No, the Worm Moon 2022 is not a supermoon.

A supermoon occurs when the Moon, which orbits the Earth in an elliptical orbit, is at the perigee, its closest point to Earth along this orbit. When the Moon reaches perigee at the same time as a full Moon, this is when we get a supermoon. Conversely, when the full Moon is at the furthest point away from Earth along this orbit, the apogee, we get a micromoon as the Moon appears smaller.

The first supermoon of 2022 will be 14 June 2022, the Strawberry Moon.

Where do the full Moon names come from?

In the 1930s the Maine Farmer’s Almanac began publishing Native American names for the full Moons in each month of the year. Since then, these names have widely been adopted around the world.

How often do full Moons occur?

Full Moons occur every 29.5 days. This is the length of time it takes the Moon to orbit the Earth and complete one lunar phase cycle when measured from new Moon to new Moon. There are 12 full Moons in a year, which are the result of the Moon being completely illuminated by the Sun’s rays. This happens when the Earth is located directly between the Sun and the Moon, as shown in the diagram below.

A diagram showing the phases of the Earth’s Moon. March's Worm Moon is a full Moon that will occur on the morning of 18 March 2022, when the Moon is fully illuminated by the Sun © Getty

The next full Moon, and the first full Moon of spring, will occur on 16 April 2022, the day before Easter. This particular full Moon goes by many different names, including Pink Moon, Sprouting Green Moon, Fish Moon and Hare Moon.

Discover more about the Moon:

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Authors

Holly SpannerStaff Writer, BBC Science Focus

Holly is the staff writer at BBC Science Focus. Before joining the team she was a geoenvironmental consultant and holds an MSc in Geoscience from UCL.

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