With three supermoons -- one of which included a lunar eclipse -- in just the last few months, it’s safe to say that 2019 has been a great year for looking at the moon. But a much-hyped lunar event this week may not be as exciting as it sounds. That is, a “Pink Moon” is set to light up the sky in the early hours of Friday morning. But don’t be fooled: It’s not actually pink.
As the Old Farmer’s Almanac explains, the “Pink Moon” will appear just before dawn, so if you want to see it, you’ll have to get up and get outside extra early. Don’t expect to see a millennial pink moon in the sky, though. It’s pink in name alone. This is common, and amateur astronomers should be used to the quirky names for full moons by now. The last few were called a Super Worm Moon and, before that, a Super Blood Wolf Moon, so… they can get pretty dramatic.
Despite lacking a rosy hue, the “pink moon” will likely be a beautiful sight -- if it’s clear enough outside for you to see it. Here’s everything you need to know about the “Pink Moon”:
What is a Pink Moon?
The “Pink Moon” is the first full moon of April. Most super moons are referred to by the names given to them by native people, who tracked the seasons by the moon according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. The Pink Moon’s name comes from the fact that it often appeared around the same time as the “moss pink,” or wild ground phlox, an early spring flower with a pink or purple color.
The moon is also sometimes referred to by other names. It’s known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon, too. These names also pay homage to the changing of the season, just in slightly different ways.
What’s the meaning behind the Pink Moon?
The Pink Moon is thought to be a sign of spring, and warmer weather to come. Folklore suggests that depends on what the moon looks like when it rises, however. Per the Old Farmer’s Almanac, a full moon in April brings frost, which could kill off sprouting plants. If the full moon rises and is pale in color, people should expect rain to follow. April showers bring May flowers or something, though, so that might not be the worst thing.
Despite the threat of frost, the Farmer’s Almanac suggests the time between the full “Pink Moon” and the last quarter of the moon in the moon phase is the best time to kill weeds, thin and prune bushes and plants, mow your lawn, chop timber, and start planting your garden. That period will come between April 19 and April 26, according to Time and Date, so you might want to be ready to get down and dirty for your garden’s sake.
Is the Pink Moon real? Is it actually pink?
The Pink Moon isn’t actually pink, unfortunately. It’s named for the pink or purple flowers the often begin popping up around the same time that it typically occurs. Still, it’s going to be a beautiful full moon so you should consider getting up early to check it out.
How can you see this year’s Pink Moon?
This year, the Pink Moon will be most visible at about 7:12am ET on Friday, April 19. The Old Farmer’s Almanac suggests stepping outside for a look the night before. Apparently the moon won’t be totally full at that point, but it’ll be close and the sky should be dark enough to really help it stand out.
Skip the snooze button on Friday and kick off your day with a show courtesy of Mother Nature. It’ll be worth it.