Did you see the full Moon rise last night? The third and final full Moon of the northern hemisphere’s winter season took place on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.
Called the “Worm Moon” in some parts of the world because of its association with warming ground temperatures and the start of spring, here’s March’s full Moon photographed from across the world.
The main image, above, shows Buddhist monks taking part in a Makha Bucha Day ceremony at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, a temple north of Bangkok, Thailand. Makha Bucha Day—which commemorates the day when 1,250 monks gathered to be ordained by Buddha—is one of the holiest days in Buddhism and is celebrated on the full Moon of the third lunar month.
Only once per month does a 100%-lit Moon rise in the east as the Sun sets in the west, which is why armies of moon-gazers and photographers routinely put a note in their diaries to be outside at a very specific time according to what a moonrise and moonset calculator says.
From somewhere with a clear view low to the eastern horizon—and given clear skies—it’s possible to see a pale orange Moon appear due east. As it rises it transits to a pale yellow—and then turns white and becomes too bright to look at.
This happens every 29 days—the length of one orbit of the Moon around Earth—so it’s worth making a plan to see if the sky is clear.
Seeing a full Moon close to the horizon also takes advantage of the so-called “Moon illusion.” For reasons not entirely clear to scientists the human brain sees the Moon next to buildings and trees as bigger than it really is.
The rising (and setting) full Moon is orange because of “Raleigh scattering.” As you look at the full Moon rising you’re looking through a lot of Earth’s atmosphere. Long wavelength red light travels more easily through Earth’s atmosphere than short-wavelength blue light, which strikes more particles and gets scattered.
Although many of these images are taken using long zoom lenses you don’t need any special equipment to see a full Moon—just your own naked eyes. However, if you do get a glimpse of it as it rises it’s worth putting a pair of binoculars on to sees its craters and ancient seas of lava.
The next New Moon—which is when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun—will occur on March 21, 2023—a day after the spring equinox.
The next full Moon—the “Pink Moon”—will take place on April 6, 2023 and be the first full Moon of spring in the northern hemisphere