If you’ve been stargazing as part of your at-home activities since the pandemic began, prepare to see the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year on Tuesday night.
Supermoons occur when the moon is within 90% of perigee – which is its closest approach to Earth in orbit. The moon will appear brighter and bigger in the night sky, and hopefully no clouds and inclement weather will obscure the view.
April’s full moon, also known as the pink moon, happens to be the closest of the year. People around the world should be able to see the supermoon at its best around 10:35 pm ET to midnight on Tuesday night and even into the early morning hours of Wednesday, according to EarthSky.org.
The first full moon of spring, its name comes from native North American wildflowers that bloom in early springtime: Phlox subulata, known as “moss pink,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
April’s full moon has also been known as the “sprouting grass moon” or “egg moon,” heralding other first signs of spring.
The moon itself won’t look pink, but it may appear more golden as it rises above the horizon. That’s due to an effect caused by our atmosphere, similar to how the sun can appear more red as it rises and sets, according to NASA.
Normally, there are 12 full moons in a year because one occurs each month. But in 2020, October will have two full moons, one on October 1 and then again on October 31.
Two full moons in the same month is known as a “blue moon.” And the fact that the second one falls on Halloween truly makes this event “once in a blue moon.”
This year will have up to four supermoons total, when the moon appears even larger and brighter in our sky. The next supermoon will occur on May 7.
And keep an eye on the sky in mid-April for a grouping of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the moon in beautiful, bright alignment. This won’t happen again for a couple of years, according to NASA.