Expect a pink full moon to shine all weekend | Astronomy
April’s full moon will light up the sky all weekend, and while it’s called the pink moon, it’s not really that color.
The pink moon will appear full from Friday morning to Monday morning, according to NASA. It will peak on Saturday, April 16 at 2:55 p.m. ET.
The moon is associated with the spring bloom of the Phlox subulata plant, a pink wildflower native to eastern North America, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The plant is commonly called creeping phlox, moss phlox, or mountain phlox.
The Native American names for the April full moon were homages to the season of spring, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. The Dakota tribe dubbed it the “moon when the streams are navigable again”, while the Tlingit tribe called it the “budding moon of plants and shrubs”, in reference to the end of winter and the the resumption of plant growth.
The pink moon also corresponds to several religious holidays, according to NASA. This is called the Easter moon in the Christian church calendar, because it is the full moon before Easter. For Hindus, this moon marks Hanuman Jayanti, the celebration of the Hindu monkey deity Lord Hanuman. The pink moon is Bak Poya for Buddhists, particularly in Sri Lanka, and commemorates Buddha’s visit to the island country, where Buddha prevented a war by settling a dispute between chiefs.
Unlike the past two years, April’s pink moon will not be a supermoon. However, it still comes with its own folklore. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, “A full moon in April brings frost. If the full moon rises pale, expect rain.”
“There’s definitely a chance of rain or frost this weekend. There’s also a chance of neither,” said CNN meteorologist Judson Jones. “But in parts of the Midwest, people will see below-average morning temperatures this weekend, which could make them wish for a pale moon.”
After the pink moon, there are eight full moon events to come in 2022, two of which qualify as supermoons. Here is a list of the remaining moons for 2022, according to the Farmers’ Almanac:
- September 10: Harvest Moon
Although these are the popularized names associated with the monthly full moons, the meaning of each can vary among Native American tribes.
Lunar and solar eclipses
There will be two total lunar eclipses and two partial solar eclipses in 2022, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Partial solar eclipses occur when the moon passes in front of the sun but blocks only part of its light. Be sure to wear appropriate eclipse glasses to safely view solar eclipses, as sunlight can damage the eyes.
A partial solar eclipse on April 30 can be seen by those in southern South America, the southeastern Pacific Ocean, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Another on October 25 will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Europe, North East Africa, the Middle East, West Asia, India and West China. None of the partial solar eclipses will be visible from North America.
A lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon when the sun, earth, and moon align and the moon passes into the earth’s shadow. The Earth casts two shadows on the Moon during the eclipse. Penumbra is partial outer shade and umbra is full, dark shade.
As the full moon moves into Earth’s shadow, it will darken, but it will not disappear. Sunlight passing through the Earth’s atmosphere brightens the moon dramatically, turning it red – which is why it’s often called a “blood moon.”
Depending on the weather conditions in your area, it may be rusty, brick colored or blood red.
This happens because blue light experiences stronger atmospheric scattering, so red light will be the most dominant color brought out when sunlight passes through our atmosphere and shines onto the moon.
A total lunar eclipse will be visible to those in Europe, Africa, South America, and North America (excluding those in the northwestern regions) between 9:31 p.m. ET on May 15 and 2:52 a.m. ET on May 16.
Another total lunar eclipse will also be on display for those in Asia, Australia, the Pacific, South America and North America on November 8 between 3:01 a.m. ET and 8:58 a.m. ET – but the moon is will lie for those in eastern parts of North America.
This year kicked off with the Quadrantid meteor shower in January, and the next meteor shower will peak later this month.
Here are the peak dates for the remaining 11 showers to watch for in 2022:
• Lyrids: from April 21 to 22
• Eta Aquariids: May 4 and 5
• South Delta Aquariids: July 29 to 30
• Alpha Capricornides: July 30 to 31
• Perseids: from August 11 to 12
• Orionids: from October 20 to 21
• Southern Taurids: November 4-5
• Northern Taurids: November 11-12
• Leonids: from 17 to 18 November
• Geminids: from December 13 to 14
• Ursids: from December 21 to 22
If you live in an urban area, you might want to drive to a place that isn’t littered with city lights to get the best view.
Find an open area with a wide view of the sky. Make sure you have a chair or blanket so you can look up. And give your eyes about 20-30 minutes – without looking at your phone or other electronics – to adjust to the darkness so the meteors are easier to spot.
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