'Super Pink Moon' to kick off string of supermoons in 2021
The last week of April will see a night sky illuminated by a bright supermoon. Bask under the moonlight by the Super "Pink" Moon.
The last week of April will kick off with the brightest night so far this year as a supermoon fills the sky after sunset on Monday.
The first in a trio of consecutive supermoons will rise on the night of April 26 into the early morning of April 27, followed by another supermoon on May 26 and the final supermoon of the year on June 24.
The last major astronomical event of the month will be visible around the globe, as long as clouds do not obscure the sky. If clouds do interfere on Monday night, people can look for it again on Tuesday night as the moon will still appear to be nearly full.
The term supermoon was coined by Astrologer Richard Noell back in 1979, although the word did not take off until the 2010s when it went viral. Despite being created by an astrologer, the phrase does have astronomical meaning.
A view of the 'super pink moon', in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)
As the moon orbits the Earth, there are points in its orbit where it is a bit closer to the planet, called perigee, and times where it is a bit farther away, called apogee. When the full moon occurs at the time it is near perigee, it looks slightly bigger and brighter than a ‘normal’ full moon, and it is thus referred to as a supermoon.
Although a supermoon is bigger and brighter than other full moons throughout the year, the difference is almost impossible to notice without looking at a side-by-side comparison.
Supermoon or not, April’s full moon is commonly called the Pink Moon. This nickname is not due to the color of the moon in the sky, but rather the pink petals of the herb moss pink, one of the earliest wildflowers to bloom in the spring across the eastern United States, NASA said.
The "Supermoon" of March 19, 2011 (right), compared to a rather "average" moon of December 20, 2010 (left): note the size difference. (Marcoaliaslama)
However, since this month’s full moon is also a supermoon, the nicknames can be combined to create the Super Pink Moon.
Other nicknames for April’s full moon include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Fish Moon and the Egg Moon.
The last full moon of astronomical spring will appear in the sky next month early in the morning on May 26. Not only will skywatchers be able to witness another supermoon but also a total lunar eclipse.
This will be the first total lunar eclipse visible from the contiguous U.S. since Jan. 20, 2019, although only folks across the western U.S. will be able to see the total eclipse.
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