Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Jan Harris
Assistant Editor
7:41 PM 26th April 2021

The Pink Supermoon Isn't Pink!

Image by 12222786 from Pixabay
Image by 12222786 from Pixabay
The pink supermoon in April can be seen from tonight in the UK. Unfortunately if the sky is cloudy it will be marred from view, but don't fear as the moon will appear in the sky for a few days.

Regardless of its name April's full moon will not actually appear pink. The moon never truly changes its colour and whatever shift of hue is visible at night is caused by atmospheric effects.

Why called the Pink Moon?
Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay
Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay
April's full moon is called the pink supermoon heralding the appearance of the 'moss pink' or wild ground phlox - one of the first spring wild flowers which turn the meadows pink. Spiritually the pink moon always signifies renewal and rebirth.

Other names for April’s full moon include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Fish Moon.

The pink moon in April will be a supermoon, which means it appears larger than average. The full moon occurs when the satellite is exactly on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.

A lunar calendar treat in 2021
In 2021 we are in for a lunar calendar treat. There will be 12 full moons including four supermoons, two lunar eclipses and a rare blue moon.

Every month of the year there is a full moon which is given a different name.

Many of these ancient moon names have been given based on the behaviour of the plants, animals, or weather during that month.

It is said that they were the names given by Native American tribes and included into our modern calendar. However the full moon names we now use also have Anglo-Saxon and Germanic roots.

Different types of moons
Blue Moon – when a full moon occurs twice in the same month
Harvest Moon – this is around the autumnal equinox when farmers do most of their harvesting
Supermoon – Supermoons are said to appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than usual.
Blood Moon – occurs during a total lunar eclipse

Image by G4889166 from Pixabay
Image by G4889166 from Pixabay
What is a supermoon?
A supermoon is when you look up at the night sky and the full moon looks so close you feel as if you could almost touch it, although sometimes the difference is hard to spot with the naked eye.

This is called a moon illusion as the full moon appears much larger when it rises behind a distant object on the horizon.

When the moon is closest to the earth a supermoon occurs. A supermoon will appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than usual. A supermoon looks especially large when rising and setting.

The moon will be 30,000 miles closer than usual. It sounds a lot, but the average distance between the earth and moon is 238,900 miles, so it’s not that huge a difference.

If you go outside on the night of a full supermoon you should actually notice that it is exceptionally bright.

According to the US space agency the term supermoon was first coined back in 1979 and is now quite commonly used.

Supermoons in 2021
28 March – Super Worm Moon
27 April – Super Pink Moon
26 May – Super Flower Moon
24 June – Super Strawberry Moon

Full Moons in 2021
Supermoon - credit Rob Harris
Supermoon - credit Rob Harris
Wolf Moon - January 28
Snow Moon - February 27
Worm Moon - March 28
Pink Moon - April 27
Flower Moon - May 26
Strawberry Moon - June 24
Buck Moon - July 31
Sturgeon Moon - August 30
Harvest Moon - September 29
Hunter's Moon - October 28
Beaver Moon - November 27
Cold Moon - December 27

The next full moon will rise on Wednesday 26 May and is the Super Flower Moon.