The Pink Supermoon is the second of two Supermoons to arrive in rapid succession. The first appeared on March 9 under the guise of the Full Worm Moon. And the next one is bound to be a pleasant distraction from the coronavirus crisis and lockdown.
What is a Supermoon?
The Moon flies around the planet on an orbit that brings it closer or farther from us every night.
The lowest point in the Moon’s orbit is known as the lunar perigee and the highest point is the apogee.
If a Full Moon happens to peak within 90 percent of its perigee, it is known as a Supermoon.
During a Supermoon event, a Full Moon can appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter.
The opposite happens during lunar apogee – a smaller Micromoon appears.
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When is the next Full Moon?
The next Full Moon will be the beautiful April Pink Moon.
The Moon will hit peak illumination early on Wednesday morning, April 8, when viewed from the UK.
The Full Moon will peak at about 4.35am BST (3.35am UTC).
But the good news is the Moon will appear full for three nights centred on the peak.
US space agency NASA said: “The moonlight we see on Earth is sunlight reflected off the Moon’s greyish-white surface.
“The amount of Moon we see changes over the month — lunar phases — because the Moon orbits Earth and Earth orbits the Sun. Everything is moving.”
Why does the Moon have different phases?
As the lunar orb races around the planet, we always see the same side facing Earth.
Our Moon doesn’t shine, it reflects
The orbit results in different amounts of sunlight hitting the Earth-facing side every night.
NASA said: “Our Moon doesn’t shine, it reflects. Just like daytime here on Earth, sunlight illuminates the Moon. We just can’t always see it.
“When sunlight hits off the Moon’s far side – the side we can’t see without from Earth the aid of a spacecraft – it is called a New Moon.
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“When sunlight reflects off the near side, we call it a Full Moon.”
The remaining phases of the Moon are the Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter and Waning Crescent Moon.
The cycle repeats every month, from New Moon to New Moon and lasts about 29.5 days.
The Moon, however, takes about 27.3 days to complete a lap around Earth.
How many Full Moons are there this year?
Here is a list of the Full Moons and their unusual names:
Wolf Moon – January 10
Snow Moon – February 9
Worm Moon – March 9
Pink Moon – April 8
Flower Moon – May 7
Strawberry Moon – June 6
Buck Moon – July 5
Sturgeon Moon – August 3
Full Corn Moon – September 2
Hunter’s Moon – October 1
Beaver Moon – November 30
Cold Moon – December 30
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