Tomorrow night, Wednesday April 8, a “super pink moon” will rise. The annual phenomenon occurs when the moon is directly opposite the sun and also at the closest point to earth in its orbit.
What is a super pink moon?
Despite the phenomenon’s name, the moon won’t actually appear pink; it’s named after the blossoming of fuchsia phlox flowers in the US, which occurs at the beginning of the northern hemisphere’s spring – the same time as this annual event. Confusingly, the moon is likely to look light yellow and with orange hues. The official name of the spectacle is perigee-syzygy: perigee being the point at which the moon is closest to earth, and syzygy when the earth, moon and sun are all aligned.
The moon usually orbits around the earth at a distance of around 384,400 kilometres. But during the super pink moon, it will be only 356,907 kilometres away. Due to its close proximity to earth, the super full moon will appear around 14 per cent brighter than a regular full moon.
How can I see it?
Usually you want to be up high, in a relatively dark space to see the super pink moon. But due to social distancing, you might just have to settle for the highest point in your house for the best view. The moon will be at its closest to earth at around 11pm, when it’s at its highest in the sky. But it will appear at its biggest and brightest just after moonrise, when it begins to pop above the horizon. This optical illusion, known as moon illusion, will be familiar to anyone who has seen the moon rise look larger than the moon when it’s high in the sky.
What other impacts will it have?
We may not be able to visit beaches at the moment, but if you’re close to the water you may notice lower and higher tides than usual, due to the altered gravitational pull of the moon.
I missed it! When will the next supermoon occur?
On May 7. It’s known as the “super flower moon”, again because of the spring flowers blooming in the northern hemisphere. It will appear to be smaller than April's super moon because it is further from earth in its orbit.
Best times to watch the super pink moon on Wednesday April 8:
Moonrise begins at 6.05pm, peaks at 11.04pm
Moonrise begins at 6.29pm, peaks at 11.22pm
Moonrise begins at 6pm, peaks at 11.01pm
Moonrise begins at 6.26pm, peaks at 11.17pm
Moonrise begins at 6.31pm, peaks at 11.22pm