You’ll be hearing that this month’s Full Moon is a supermoon. Some people call the April Full Moon a Pink Moon. How super and how pink will it be?
I suppose it depends on how you imagine a supermoon to be but because the Full Moon tonight (April 7) coincides with the moon’s perigee (closest point in the Moon’s monthly orbit to Earth), it’s “super.” Lunar perigee occurs Tuesday at 2:08 p.m. EST, and the peak of the Moon’s fullness is at 10:35 p.m. EST. ’s
Supermoons (that’s not an astronomy term) appear about 7 percent bigger and 15 percent brighter than regular full moons. That might not even be observable to you, but any clear view of the Full Moon is pretty cool.
Will it really look pink? Not really. Light does play tricks on our eyes and sometimes the Moon does look more red/pink or orange, but you’re likely to see the spectacular but regular slightly golden-white glow.
The Pink Moon name comes not from something happening in space but something happening on Earth. For some people in some places, this time of spring is when the eastern and central North American wildflower (Phlox subulata) blooms.
The plant is native to the USA and is widely cultivated. This evergreen perennial makes mats or cushions of hairy, linear leaves with small, five-petaled flowers. The plant’s common names are mountain or creeping phlox, moss pink or just “pinks” and my mom always called it “mountain pinks.’ I still have plants I took from my childhood home’s rock garden that bloom here in Paradelle.
Though we call them and the Full Moon “pink,” the flowers can be rose, mauve, blue, white, or pink and might bloom anytime from early spring through early summer. It is cultivated as a spreading groundcover and can create a spectacular display when t covers a wide area like a flower carpet.
This Full Moon is also known as the Paschal Moon. “Paschal” means “of or relating to Easter” The timing of its fullness helps the Catholic Church set the date for Easter.
In 325 CE, the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. This year, the vernal equinox was a bit early (March 19) and Easter is strongly associated with early spring “rebirth” in nature.
This is the closest to Earth Full Moon of the year. It is also sandwiched between two other supermoons in March and May, so be sure to look up and notice these three supermoons of spring.
Follow the advice of Stephen Hawking, “Look up at the stars, not down at your feet.”