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Super Pink Moon

Something amazing occurs in the night sky when the Earth is aligned between the Sun and the Moon.  This phenomenon puts the Moon in a perigee (closest-to-Earth) position and, when the Moon is full, it is especially bright and beautiful. It’s known as a “Supermoon.”

When it occurs in April, a Supermoon is also called a “Super Pink Moon.” The Moon isn’t pink, of course, but it’s called “Pink” because of the pink moss—Phlox subulata—which blooms at this time of year. To see the Moon rise against such a backdrop is a spectacular event.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/ab/Mt.Tyausu_Moss_phlox.jpg/640px-Mt.Tyausu_Moss_phlox.jpg

When the Moon is full, in the Spring, it also has an impact on the ocean tides (causing them to rise). As the lower of these two images from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) depicts, the Earth is between the Sun and the Moon during times when the Moon is full.

https://aamboceanservice.blob.core.windows.net/oceanservice-prod/facts/perigeanspringtide.jpg

NASA tells us more about the naming of Supermoons:

...The term “supermoon” was coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a new or full Moon that occurs within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. Under this definition, in a typical year there can be 3 or 4 FULL Supermoons in a row and (about half a year apart) 3 or 4 NEW Supermoons in a row.

In practice, what catches the public's attention are the full Moons that appear biggest and brightest each year. For 2020, the four full Moons from February to May meet this 90% threshold, with the full Moons in March and April nearly tied in size and brightness.

This full Moon (in April of 2020) will be slightly closer to the Earth (about 0.1%) than the March full Moon was, so this will be the “most super” of the full supermoons this year.

An even rarer event—once in every 18 years—occurs when a full moon is aligned in just the right way to cause a Supermoon Eclipse. NASA provides this animation which explains how it occurs.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5199stories and lessons created

Original Release: Apr 07, 2020

Updated Last Revision: Apr 08, 2020


Media Credits

Lead image online via Bigstock. 

 

Photo of moss flox, near Mount Chausuyama—taken on May 20, 2018 by Bariston—online via Wikimedia Commons; License: CC BY-SA 4.0.

 

Video animation from NASA.

 

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Super Pink Moon" AwesomeStories.com. Apr 07, 2020. Dec 05, 2021.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Super-Pink-Moon>.
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