Chicago, IL

What's a worm moon? March's full moon this week signals spring

Jennifer Geer

Chicagoans can look up to the skies Monday and Tuesday night to see this winter's last full moon.

(CHICAGO) The final full moon of winter, the worm moon, is a welcome sign of the coming spring.

Look up on the nights of Monday, March 6th, and Tuesday, March 7th to see the bright glow of the full moon. Historically this full moon signals the end of winter and spring's beginning.

Although the moon will appear full for both nights, it's technically full on March 7th.

Why is it called a worm moon?

According to the Old Farmers' Almanac, at first, people thought Native Americans had named the worm moon after wriggling earthworms coming closer to the surface in spring.

However, research revealed it's not earthworms the Native Americans were referring to, but beetle larvae. In early spring the larvae emerge from thawing tree bark and other winter hiding places.

What are some other March moon names?

Different tribes had different names for the full moons. Other names include:

  • The 'sugar moon' (the time of year when sap sugar maple starts to flow)
  • The 'wind strong moon' (signaling the windy days of early spring)
  • The 'sore eyes moon' (this is from the sun's blinding rays as it reflects off the melting snow)

Why did Native Americans name moons?

Early Native Americans didn't keep a calendar but kept track of time by following the seasons.

The Old Farmer's Almanac explains moon phases were used to help people keep track of time using the seasons. "Note that for Native American names, each Moon name was traditionally applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred, the month starting either with the new Moon or full Moon."

What else is happening in the skies this month?

Skywatchers in Chicago can keep track of celestial happenings by following the Chicago Adler Planetarium's monthly blog, Adler Skywatch.

According to Skywatch in March, you can watch out for:

  • The Venus and Jupiter conjunction early in the month.
  • How to view Mars in the southern sky.
  • The vernal equinox (astronomical start of spring) arrives on March 20th.
  • Look for Saturn in the morning twilight at the end of the month.
  • The phases of the moon.

Chicago's astronomy museum, the Adler Planetarium, is located at 1300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive.


To get NewsBreak stories delivered for FREE on your phone, download the NewsBreak App. If you use my link, I get a small commission (at no cost to you.)

Comments / 4

Published by

Jennifer covers lifestyle content and local news for the Chicago area. New articles published each weekday.

Chicago, IL

More from Jennifer Geer

Comments / 0