With a new month comes a fresh opportunity to experience the full moon you may have been too nonchalant to witness four weeks ago. This month, the forthcoming celestial wonder will brighten skies and presumably streak across Instagram feeds, as the pink Super Moon emerges again on April 27 (tonight), about a year and six weeks from the last time it gave us cause to glance skyward.
Here’s how and when to see tonight’s full moon, included a few historical tidbits on where it derives its name.
When will it appear?
As Yahoo reports, the prime time to view the Pink Moon is at 5:33 pm AEST, so move quickly.
The Farmer’s Almanac explains that the pink moon is not the actual colour, but rather a reflection of the vivid spring pleasantries we might be experiencing on the ground:
Although we wish this name had to do with the colour of the Moon, the reality is not quite as mystical or awe-inspiring. In truth, April’s full Moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of a certain wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulata — commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox — which also went by the name “moss pink.”
It’s a real Super Moon though
Whereas last month’s worm moon just barely missed the mark on earning the distinction of a real Super Moon, the pink moon will be big enough to claim the name.
As explained last month, the concept of a “Super Moon” is a kind of pop-scientific term layered over the already pseudoscientific field of astrology. The idea of a Super Moon was conceived by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979, and technically, it applies to “either a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth.”
Unlike last month, the moon on April 27 will meet that criteria, and therefore the Super Moon moniker remains. Because this moon will be 90% as close to Earth as possible, it will appear far more radiant than a normal moon would otherwise.
Here’s how the Farmer’s Almanac breaks it down:
Just how big and how bright, exactly? On average, supermoons are about 7% bigger and about 15% brighter than a typical full Moon. However, unless you were to see a regular full Moon and a supermoon side by side in the sky, the difference is very, very difficult to notice!
That doesn’t mark the end of 2021’s Super Moon calendar, however, as next full moon on May 27 will be even brighter than this month’s, but only by a marginal, unnoticeable amount. As NASA explains:
The full Moons in April and May are nearly tied as the closest full Moons of the year. The full Moon on May 26, 2021, will be slightly closer to the Earth than the full Moon on April 26, 2021, but only by a slim 0.04%!
As ever, the best advice for taking in the forthcoming lunar events are to find a nice open space free of light pollution and look towards the heavens. Bringing a blanket probably wouldn’t hurt either.
This article has been updated since its original publish date.