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How April's full moon earned its Pink Moon nickname

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer

The Pink Moon will glow in the night sky around the globe at the end of the week, but the full moon may not appear as its name may lead you to believe.

This month’s full moon will rise on Thursday night and will be visible around the globe, weather permitting. It will officially become 100% full at 4:12 a.m. PDT Friday. Folks that miss Thursday night’s Pink Moon can catch it on Friday night, as it will still appear to be full.

Every month’s full moon has a nickname that can often be traced back hundreds of years to the Native Americans or early Colonials from Europe.

“April’s full Moon is called the Full Pink Moon, heralding the appearance of the 'moss pink,' or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac reported.

phlox panicule

Purple and pink Phlox plants blooming in the spring. (Photo/Atilin)

Despite its nickname, the upcoming full moon will not actually appear pink. However, the moon can sometimes appear yellow, orange or even red depending on atmospheric conditions right as it first peers above the horizon.

This is also when the moon appears its largest due to an optical illusion, sometimes referred to as the moon illusion.

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

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Onlookers can look for the full moon to rise in the eastern sky on Thursday evening right before sunset, local time. The moon will rise in the same area on Friday evening; however, it will do so shortly after sunset, local time.

april pink moon 3

A full moon is seen as it rises over the New York City skyline seen from West Orange, N.J., Saturday, April 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Once darkness falls, stargazers can look to the western sky to see the constellation Orion. This will be one of the last opportunities to see the well-known constellation until late summer or early fall, as it is on the opposite side of the sun in the weeks surrounding the summer solstice, which will occur Friday, June 21, 2019.

A few shooting stars may also streak across the sky as the Pink Moon rises just a few nights before the peak of the Lyrid meteor shower, the first major meteor shower since January.

The next full moon will rise on May 18, 2019.

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