GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The full Worm Moon will shine bright over West Michigan at the end of this week, and the vernal equinox will mark the start of astronomical spring on Sunday. 

Early Friday morning is when the moon will officially be full, but it will look full both Thursday and Friday evenings. As is always the case at the time of a full moon, it will rise in the east around sunset and set in the west around sunrise. Unfortunately, the current weather forecast calls for pesky clouds that may complicate our viewing here in West Michigan. 

The March full moon is known as the Worm Moon since this is the time of year when the ground begins to thaw, and worms and insects begin to emerge. It is also known as the Sap Moon or the Crow Moon. 

Just a few days after the full moon of March, astronomical spring will officially begin. The vernal equinox will take place on March 20 at 11:33 AM. 

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At the time of the equinox, the sun shines directly over the equator, giving nearly equal night and day to both hemispheres. “Equinox” means “equal night,” but the time of day and night is not exactly equal on the equinox. The equilux is the name given to the day where there is actually equal day and night, which is March 17 in Grand Rapids. On that day, the sun will rise at 7:51 AM and set at 7:51 PM. 

The time of daylight increases most rapidly around the vernal equinox. We are currently gaining almost three minutes of daylight each day. The rate of daylight increase will slow as we approach the summer solstice, then begin to decrease once the solstice has passed.