This year’s Pink Moon is the second of four consecutive Supermoons that will peak in the spring and summer. Supermoons are one of the few astronomical phenomena you can enjoy regardless of your position on the globe – and the next Supermoon is no exception. At their best, Supermoons can appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than usual.
What is a Supermoon?
A Supermoon is said to appear during a Full Moon phase at or near the Moon’s perigee – its closest orbit of our planet.
Because the Moon’s path around the Earth is elliptical and not perfectly round, it is closer or farther from us every night.
And since the term Supermoon is not a scientific one, there is some debate over how many Supermoons there are this year.
If you consider every Full Moon near perigee this year to be ‘super’ then we have four Supermoons in total – on March 28, April 27, May 26 and June 24.
If you only consider the closest Full Moons at perigee in a given year, then we only have two Supermoons this year – on April 27 and May 26.
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When is the Pink Moon over the UK?
The Pink Moon will make its grand appearance next Tuesday, April 27.
Full Moons appear once a month – with the exception of a rare Blue Moon – at the halfway point of the lunar cycle.
Because the cycle lasts about 29.53 days, Full Moons don’t fall on the same date each year.
Here in the UK, April’s Full Moon will reach peak illumination by about 4.31am BST.
The Pink Moon will peak about one-and-a-half hours before its sets for the day, but it will rise again around 9pm BST.
What is the meaning behind the Pink Moon’s name?
The Pink Moon’s unusual name is popularly attributed to the time-keeping traditions of Native Americans.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, various tribes would give the Full Moons names that reflected seasonal changes in the wildlife and landscape.
The arrival of the Strawberry Moon in June, for instance, would signal wild strawberries would soon be ripe for picking.
The March Moon, meanwhile, is said to be named after earthworms burrowing through the ground at the start of spring.
Unfortunately, this means the Pink Moon will not be turning pink next week.
Instead, it is said to be named after a type of pink flower that covers the fields at this time of year.
Amy Nieskens of The Old Farmer’s Almanac said: “April’s Full Moon is known as the Full Pink Moon because it heralded the appearance of wild ground phlox or moss pink, one of the first spring flowers.
“It is also known by many other names to herald the coming of spring, including the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Fish Moon.”