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The best time to see the Worm Moon, March’s full moon

The moon is officially full early on Tuesday, March 7, at exactly 7:40 a.m. EST.

The full moon rises behind clouds.
Petros Karadjias / AP
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The March full moon, also known as the worm moon, will make its appearance early this month.

The moon is officially full early on Tuesday, March 7, at exactly 7:40 a.m. EST.

If you miss the exact time the moon is full, it will still appear full for about three days around this time beginning Sunday evening through Wednesday morning.

Why do we call the March full moon the Worm Moon?

Full moon names originated from folklore and Native American history, and the names typically relate to the time of year in which they occur.

March marks the beginning of spring, and spring is when the ground begins to warm up and thaw.

This is when earthworms that have spent the winter deep in the soil in search of warmth begin to move into the upper layers of the dirt, even emerging onto the surface at times.

NASA says the southern tribes of North America were the ones who called March’s moon the “worm” moon. This makes sense because native earthworm populations were decimated in the north by glaciers; earthworms in those areas today are an invasive species from Europe and Asia.

Tribes in the northern United states were more likely to call the full moon the crow moon, sap moon and even wind strong moon, and all those names have one thing in common — the return of spring.

Crows and other birds begin to migrate back to their homes in the spring. Also, longer days allow temperatures to warm up just enough for the sap to begin flowing from maple trees. And winds pick up as weather patterns from the changing seasons begin to shift.

Spring is a season of change, and as a result, March’s full moon has earned many names all pointing back to those changes.

For night sky watchers, March is full of celestial wonders
For night sky watchers, March is full of celestial wonders
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The Worm Moon is the last full moon of winter

The worm moon and everything about it is a sure sign of the spring season even though it’s almost two weeks before the first day of spring.

March’s full moon has a greater chance of arriving before the first day of spring simply because it’s still technically winter for the first three weeks in March. This year, the full moon is arriving well before March 20, the official start of spring.

The full worm moon is only one sign spring is right around the corner this year.

Most places in the United States will also begin observing Daylight Saving Time the weekend right after the full moon, on March 12. This is when most of the country “springs forward” one hour with their clocks, which pushes the sunrises and sunsets to an hour later.

This winter has been a mixed bag, but despite the change of seasons, it doesn’t appear winter is finished just yet. Most of the southern and eastern parts of the United States have experienced milder winter temperatures while western and northern parts of the country still felt winter’s cold and snow.

For anyone who’s avoided winter’s chill so far, it appears the colder air is expected to take over most of the U.S. for at least a little while in March before spring finally settles in.

The spring season’s first full moon will occur next month on April 6, about two and a half weeks after the season begins.

No matter when the moon officially arrives in March any given year, we can still count on longer days, warmer temperatures, returning migrating birds, flowing sap — and, yes, worms emerging from the ground.

This story was originally published by Jason Meyers on Simplemost.com.