The Missed Moon

I missed the March Full Moon. Actually, I only missed posting here about it. I saw it very clearly in a Caribbean sky that was much darker than in Paradelle and filled with more stars. Venus and Jupiter were brighter than many stars that week.

I could have posted something using my phone but I was computerless for my vacation and trying to stay offline for most of the time. I had queued up posts for when I was gone, so to the online world I was still home and doing the usual things.

The common name for the March lunar fullness is the Worm Moon which was on March 7, 2023 at 7:40 AM EST or 12:40 PM UTC. I saw no worms on St. John. I don’t even know if they have worms though I suspect the critters are pretty global. There were no worms popping up from the soil back home in Paradelle where winter made a late appearance including the first snow of the season. This was the third and last Full Moon of the Winter 2023 season as it occurs before the spring equinox, and worms stayed below the frozen soil.

As I type this post, the current Moon is in the Waning Gibbous phase. On this day, the moon is 20.98 days old and 70.64% illuminated with a tilt of 4.872°. The approximate distance from Earth to the moon is 381,542.38 km and the Moon sign is Scorpio.

Full Moon Before the Equinox


The Full Moon was rising last night but reached peak illumination at 3:20 A.M. EDT today. This Full Moon is often called the Worm Moon because worms sometimes emerge from wintering underground at this time. But, as with many Full Moon names, it all depends on where you live and the weather. Here in Paradelle, we have had some warm 60-70 degree days but we still have lots of nights near the freezing mark. I have seen robins in the backyard but I haven’t seen them nabbing any worms yet.

There is no special name for the Full Moon nearest to the spring equinox. Coincidentally, in the Southern Hemisphere, this is the Harvest Moon and that name in the Northern Hemisphere is given to the Full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox.

The spring equinox is on March 20, two days after the Full Moon. That means that Easter (a moveable feast) falls after the next full Moon, which is the Pink Moon on April 16 and the next day is Easter Sunday 2022.

The bright Moon decreases the number of visible stars, but you can see in the early evening night sky the very bright Venus and below it are Mars and Saturn in the pre-dawn eastern sky, and Jupiter is just above the horizon close to sunrise.

The weekend finishes with an equinox which is not a viewable event, but it is an important marker in the Earth’s solar journey.

This Spring Full Moon

canoe in moonlight

Tonight is the March Full Moon. It is frequently called the Worm Moon because spring rain and warmth sometimes bring earthworms out of the ground around this time. Like all Full Moon names, it is accurate only for some places.

The Algonquian peoples are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups. Historically, the peoples were prominent along the Atlantic Coast and into the interior along the Saint Lawrence River and around the Great Lakes. This grouping consists of the peoples who speak Algonquian languages and my New Jersey is included in this large group.  I have found that the Algonquian peoples called this Full Moon the Worm Moon but tribes in other parts of that wide range used the names Sugar Moon, Crow Moon, Snow Crust Moon or Sap Moon.

A 16th-century sketch of the Algonquian village of Pomeiock. North Carolina.  Link

The language associated with the Moon is quite rich worldwide. Here are some examples:

  • The natives of Madagascar call their isle the Island of the Moon.
  • To aim at the Moon means to be very ambitious, to set your sights extremely high.
  • The name Mount St. Helens means “Moon Mountain.” Mt. Sinai was probably named after the Chaldean god of the Moon, Sinn, which would make it another Moon mountain.
  • When people speak of the Mountains of the Moon, it generally means white mountains.
  • Arabs called white horses “Moon-colored.”
  • Originally, the term Moon-struck or Moon-touched meant chosen by the goddess.
  • When anyone spoke of Mountains of the Moon, it simply meant white mountains.
  • The Druids believed that when the circle of the Moon was complete, good fortune was given to those who knew how to ask the gods for it.
  • The word “moonshine” in the U.S. means “illegally distilled liquor” (AKA “white lightning”) but an older meaning was “total nonsense.”
  • In English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek, the Moon is feminine. Most of the Teutonic languages (Frisian, Dutch, Flemish, German, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and the Norwegian dialects) mark the Moon as masculine.
  • The Druids believed that when the circle of the Moon was complete, good fortune was given to those who knew how to ask the gods for it.

Crow Moon

crow moon

The Crow Moon will reach peak fullness at 1:48 p.m. EST today, March 9. This Full Moon name was used by northern Native American tribes for the cawing of crows signaling the end of winter.

We also call this the Worm Moon for the emerging worms from the thawing ground and the return of robins who feast on those emerging worms. The Crust Moon name comes from the top layers of snow that melt and refreeze as this fickled month’s temperatures move up and down in the North.

This Full Moon is the second of four supermoons for 2020 (one was last month and April 8 and May 7 follow).