Moon-gazers, it's that time of the month again to turn your telescopes toward the skies. This April, as millions around the globe are practicing social distancing, the year's biggest and brightest moon will grace our skies on April 8 (or April 7, depending on where you are in the world).
Arguably set to be the most beautiful moon of the year, April's Pink Supermoon will also be the biggest. Supermoons occur when the moon's orbit brings it as close to the Earth as possible. This point in the orbit closest to the Earth is called the "perigree" by astronomers. While there have been three supermoons prior to this, April's supermoon will be the closest the moon will ever be to our planet all year.
Because of the moon's uneven orbit, the moon will appear seven percent larger than a regular full moon and almost 14 to 30 percent brighter than normal. The change in the size and brightness will be obvious to stargazers, who will have a chance to spot this once-a-year event.
While April's full moon is called the Pink Supermoon, don't be fooled—it won't actually be pink. It's called the pink moon because centuries ago, Native Americans (and hundreds of other civilizations) used the moon to track the time of the year and the seasons. The April moon is the first full moon of spring after the Spring Equinox on March 20, and it heralds the arrival of the new season—including all the flowers that will bloom. One of these flowers is the Phlox subulata or the moss pink flower, a gorgeous spring wildflower that carpets the woodlands of eastern North America.
Fun fact: Some say the moss pink flower smells like marijuana.
Although the moon will reach its peak on Wednesday, April 8 at 10:35 a.m. Manila time, the moon will appear full to the naked eye for a couple of days. So on Tuesday night, while the moon is still lighting up the night sky, look out of your window for a second and appreciate the Pink Supermoon in all its glory.