Skygazers are in for a treat in when the full Pink Moon, the biggest supermoon of the year, dazzles the heavens.
While for many of us the world seems stuck in a Dantean circle of hell situated somewhere between Groundhog Day and Contagion, the Earth nonetheless keeps spinning and her favorite little sidekick, the moon, keeps making the rounds. This month, we will be graced with a super Pink Moon, and it may serve as a lovely little distraction during tough times. Here's what the April moon has going for it.
The moon will be its closest to Earth all yearWe are currently in the middle of a miniseries of supermoons – the full moons of March, April, and May swing closer in their elliptical orbit to Earth (known as perigee), making them appear larger and brighter. But of the three, April's full moon will be the one that comes closest to our home planet, and it will be the closest full moon for the entire year. She will pass by a mere 221,772 miles away; for context, at its farthest point this year, which happened in March, the moon was 252,707 miles away.
Why it is called the Pink MoonUnfortunately, despite its rosy name, the full Pink Moon will be its normal golden wan self. However, the name does have a poetic origin. Many early Native American tribes kept tabs on time by naming full moons rather than the calendar months as we know them. And since the moons helped keep track of the seasons, their names generally aligned with nature. In the case of April, the pink full moon ushered in the arrival of creeping phlox (Phlox subulate) and its early waves of pink.
Full moon names varied from tribe to tribe, others for April include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.
It will be lovely from sunset to sunriseThe (not so) blushing beauty will be visible toward the east after sunset on April 7, and will reach peak illumination at 10:35 P.M. EDT. It will be at its highest around midnight, and will then begin slinking back down to set in the west around sunrise on April 8. Because of the “moon illusion,” it will look especially large when it is close to the horizon.
The Pink Moon has a Virgo connection
It is the first full moon of spring, and also the paschal full moonSince this is the first full moon since the equinox, it will be the first full moon of spring – because of this, it is also known as the paschal full moon and determines the date of Easter. Being a “moveable feast” (a religious observance without a fixed calendar date), Easter falls on the Sunday after the paschal full moon, which will be on April 12.
Is a supermoon such a big deal?
Oh, and for the record, NASA reminds us that supermoons will not cause “extreme flooding, earthquakes, fires, volcanic eruptions, severe weather, nor tsunamis, despite what incorrect and non-scientific speculators might suggest.” Though it may cause someone around here to climb up on the roof around sunset and feel some much-needed serenity as the beautiful pink moon rises from the skyline.