Don’t Miss April’s Super Pink Moon

by AMNH on

News Posts

Pink full Moon and partial lunar eclipse. A Pink full Moon and partial lunar eclipse on April 25, 2013.
© NASA Goddard

Take a look at the sky tonight to enjoy the biggest, brightest Moon of 2020, dubbed the “Super Pink Moon.” The first full Moon of spring is also a Super Moon, meaning it is particularly close to Earth in its orbit so it can appear slightly bigger and brighter than the average full Moon. 

The old Farmer's Almanac also refers to this month's Moon as the “Pink Moon.” Despite that name, the Moon will not appear pink: this particular Moon gets its name because its appearance often corresponds with the early blooms of moss phlox—a pink wildflower native to eastern North America.

Even though it won't be pink, tonight’s Moon will still be quite the sight. The April Moon is one of three Super Moons this year—including March’s “Super Worm Moon” and next month’s “Super Flower Moon.” Of the three, April’s full Moon will come closest to our planet, making it appear the largest.

“The Moon is the Earth’s celestial partner so anytime there’s a reason to glance up and appreciate this cosmic relative I encourage people to do some stargazing,” says Museum astrophysicist Jackie Faherty.

Faherty says the best time to view the Pink Moon will be at moonrise, which, in the New York City area, will be at 7:05 pm ET. Look toward the east while the Sun is setting in the west. When you watch the Moon close to the horizon, it looks especially large because your brain compares it with your local surroundings. Earth’s atmosphere will also make the rising Moon appear orange and yellow for a short amount of time. The Super Pink Moon will reach peak illumination at 10:35 pm ET.

If you’re viewing the Moon from indoors, a second floor (or higher) window or balcony that has an unobstructed east-facing aspect will work. If you have them, Faherty recommends grabbing a pair of binoculars to get a good look at the Moon’s craters.

“Sprinkled across the face of the Moon are the historical records for this part of the Solar System. Astronomers use the cratering record on the Moon to help understand its age. When you look up tonight see how many and where the craters appear," she says.

If you miss it tonight, make your calendar for the next Super Moon on May 7, 2020—the third and final Super Moon of the year.