Even though the full moon in April will not be pink tonight, the beautiful golden orb may still be a sight to behold.
The lunar event will be visible to watchers beginning Wednesday night and will peak early Thursday at 12:34 a.m. EST.
“At first glance, the April full Moon will appear to be like other full Moons,” stated Dr. Noah Petro, chief of NASA’s planetary geology, geophysics, and geochemistry lab, in an email. Each one, though, “presents a unique opportunity to witness a lovely Moon and begin to observe the Moon as it progresses through its phases.”
“I encourage people to go out their binoculars or telescopes and take a careful look at the Moon, trying to see the varied colors (the light and dark regions), and know that those differences reflect distinct compositions of rock.”
As they are regarded as being in the full moon phase up to 12 hours before and after their peak, according to EarthSky, full moons are visible to people in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The day before or the day following the crest, the moon’s fullness will not appear visibly different to the naked eye.
Petro advises choosing a location with little artificial light and a clear sky to see the pink moon at its best. Venus and Mars will also be visible in the night sky and pretty near to the moon, so observers should keep an eye out for them as well.
In an email, Petro stated, “I want people to think of the Moon not just as a close neighbor in space, but as the eighth continent of the Earth.
He went on to say, about the NASA Artemis lunar program, “We are getting ready to send astronauts back to the Moon as well as several robotic missions to its surface. There will be a lot of intriguing developments in lunar research over the upcoming years.
Pink moon in preparation for spring
The pink moon is a reference to the abundance of flowering flowers and trees that spring delivers. The pink moon is named after a bright pink wildflower, Phlox subulata, which grows in a dense mat of colorful foliage and is also known as creeping phlox, moss phlox, or moss pink. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the wildflower is native to eastern North America and frequently attracts butterflies, which marks the advent of spring.
A handbook created at Western Washington University lists several additional names for this moon, including the flower moon, budding moon, and moon of the great leaves, which are all references to the season’s abundant greenery and originate from Native American tribes.
April’s full moon, sometimes referred to as the Paschal full moon, is this year’s first full moon of spring. Because Easter happens on the Sunday after the Paschal moon’s appearance in the night sky, this lunar event is especially significant to Christians who observe it as a religious holiday.
There will be more full moons
There are nine more moons to look out for this year, including two supermoons in August, which will appear larger in the sky due to their closer proximity to Earth.
The Farmers’ Almanac has listed the remaining full moons in 2023 as follows:
Floral moon on May 5
Strawberry moon on June 3
Buck moon on July 3rd
Sturgeon moon on August 1
Blue moon on August 30
Harvest Moon on September 29.
Hunter’s moon on October 28
Beaver moon on November 27.
Frosty moon on December 26
Solar and lunar eclipses
Two solar eclipses and two lunar eclipses will make up the total number of eclipses seen in 2023.
Australia, Southeast Asia, and Antarctica will be able to see one total solar eclipse on April 20. The moon will briefly pass in front of the sun during this time, giving the sun the appearance of a blazing circle in the sky. To safely see the event, you will need the right eclipse glasses.
A penumbral lunar eclipse, which will be visible from Africa, Asia, and Australia on May 5, will happen shortly after that. The moon will pass under Earth’s shadow during this eclipse, creating a dimming of the lunar surface.
If you live in North, Central, or South America, be sure to look up on October 14 for an annular solar eclipse. The moon will appear smaller than the sun and form a more noticeable luminous ring when passing between the sun and Earth during this event, which will take place when the moon is at or near its furthest point from Earth.
Those across Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, parts of North America, and much of South America will be able to see a partial lunar eclipse on October 28. Because the Earth and moon will not be perfectly aligned, only a portion of the moon will be in shadow.
Showers of meteors
The Lyrids, the first significant shower since the Quadrantids first emerged in January, will bring an end to the meteor shower drought at the end of this month. The celestial event of the Aquariids in May will come right after the Lyrids.
The following are the remaining meteor showers for 2023, along with their peak dates:
Lyrids: 22-23 April
Eta Aquariids: 5-6 May
Aquariids of the Southern Delta: July 30-31
Capricorns (Alpha): July 30-31
Perseid meteor shower: August 12-13
Orionids: 20-21 October
Southern Taurids: November 4th and 5th
Northern Taurids: 11-12 November
Leonids: November 17th and 18th
December 13-14, Geminids
Ursids: December 21st and 22nd
Interesting facts about the Pink Moon
The Pink Moon is not always a “supermoon,” which is a term used to describe a full moon that appears larger and brighter than usual because it is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit. However, the Pink Moon can sometimes coincide with a supermoon if it is also at perigee, which is the point in its orbit where it is closest to Earth.
In some Native American cultures, the Pink Moon is associated with rebirth and renewal. It is seen as a time to start fresh and make positive changes in one’s life.
The Pink Moon is not the only full moon with a colorful name. Other full moon names include the Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox), the Hunter’s Moon (the full moon after the Harvest Moon), and the Blue Moon (the second full moon in a calendar month).
Because the Pink Moon occurs in the spring, it is sometimes associated with fertility and new beginnings. Some people believe that it is a good time to start new projects or make important life changes.
The Pink Moon has been referenced in popular culture, including in the song “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake and in the book “Pink Moon: A Story About Nick Drake” by Gorm Henrik Rasmussen.
Despite its name, the Pink Moon is not unique to North America. It is visible from all parts of the world that have a clear view of the night sky during the full moon phase.
Overall, the Pink Moon is a beautiful and fascinating astronomical phenomenon that has captured the imagination of people throughout history.