See the last full moon of winter rise in a blaze of orange

Have you seen full moon got up last night? The third and final full moon of the Northern Hemisphere winter season occurred on Tuesday, March 7, 2023.

Called the “Worm Moon” in some parts of the world due to its association with warming ground temperatures and the onset of spring, this is the March Full Moon photographed across the globe.

The main image, above, shows Buddhist monks participating 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 a month does a 100% illuminated moon rise in the east while the sun sets in the west, which is why armies of moon watchers and photographers regularly write down in their diaries a note that they have to be outside at a very specific time depending on what moonrise and moonset calculator said.

From somewhere with a clear view low on the eastern horizon – and with clear skies – it is possible to see a pale orange moon appear due east. As it rises, it fades to pale yellow, then turns white and becomes too bright to look at.

This happens every 29 days – the length of one Moon’s orbit around Earth – so it’s worth making a plan to see if the skies are clear.

Seeing a full moon near the horizon also benefits from the so-called “moon illusion.” For reasons that aren’t entirely clear to scientists, the human brain sees the Moon next to buildings and trees as larger than it actually is.

The rising (and setting) Full Moon is orange because of “Raleigh scattering”. When you watch the full moon rise, you are looking through much of Earth’s atmosphere. Long-wavelength red light passes through Earth’s atmosphere more easily than short-wavelength blue light, which hits more particles and scatters.

Although many of these images are taken using long zoom lenses, you don’t need any special equipment to see the full moon, just your own bare eyes. However, if you see it as it rises, it’s worth putting on a pair of binoculars to see its craters and ancient lava seas.

The next New Moon, that is, when the Moon is between Earth and the Sun, will be on March 21, 2023, one day after the spring equinox.

The next full moon, the “pink moon”, will occur on April 6, 2023 and will be the first full moon of spring in the northern hemisphere.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

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