Pink Moon? More Like Mini-Moon
The 'pink moon' is named after flowers, but the moon, itself, will appear to be smaller than usual because it is at its furthest point from the Earth.
Stargazers who step outside tonight will likely get to see the fabled "pink moon" of April, but unfortunately, unless viewed through tinted glasses, it won't be pink. In fact, it should actually look smaller than usual.
The pink moon is the name for April's full moon, earning its nickname from a pink flower called wild ground flox, NASA explained in a statement it released when astronaut Soichi Noguchi photographed a pink moon in April of 2010.
The April full moon has other names, too, like fish moon, grass moon, and egg moon.
The moon this evening will appear to be smaller than usual because it is at its furthest point from the Earth, or apogee, according to EarthSky, which also notes that this moon goes by the name micro-moon or mini-moon. The moon as seen from the Earth is fully illuminated when the Earth, moon, and Sun are lined up with the Earth in between the two.
In November, the moon will be full when it is at its closest to the Earth- in fact, about 30,000 miles closer than April's mini-moon-and will be known as a supermoon.
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April's moon isn't really pink, but it is smaller than usual full moons.
There's no denying it, the "supermoon lunar eclipse" didn't disappoint. A large swathe of the planet was treated to a rare lunar event on Sunday night and early Monday morning when a so-called "supermoon" coincided with a lunar eclipse. Neither of these astronomical events are particularly rare in their own right, but their coincidence hasn't happened since 1982 and won't happen again until 2033.
Although clouds interrupted most of totality in my location (near Los Angeles, Calif.), I was lucky enough to spot the beautiful "blood moon" for a short time and, later, the bright disk of a supermoon. Here I've collected some supermoon lunar eclipse photos from around the world, including my own. If you want to have your astronomical shots featured, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet me at
Clouds were tricky over Los Angeles, Calif., where total lunar eclipse was often obscured by cloud, as shown in this view over the Griffith Observatory.
It just so happens that last night's supermoon was also a "Harvest Moon" -- the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox.
Photo: The lunar eclipse over Windsor Castle, Berkshire, UK, in the early hours of Monday morning.
During a lunar eclipse, the Earth is between the sun and the moon, but the moon still receives sunlight that refracts through our planet's atmosphere, often turning the moon deep red or orange. This is not why some eclipses are called "blood moons," however. A blood moon is the last total lunar eclipse of 4 successive total lunar eclipses (with no partial lunar eclipses in between), each of which is separated by 6 lunar months. For more information on the "lunar tetrad",
Photo: The supermoon lunar eclipse begins to set over Gaza.
The supermoon sets over Sydney, Australia, before the lunar eclipse commenced. Unfortunately for Australia (and much of Asia), the eclipse occurred on the other side of the planet.
The supermoon lunar eclipse at totality in clear skies over Jerusalem, Israel.
The supermoon lunar eclipse over Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Clouds block a clear view of the supermoon eclipse over New York.
Clear skies over Cape Town, South Africa, provided sharp views of totality.
The supermoon eclipse hangs over statues in Venice, Italy.
As the supermoon slipped out of totality, sunlight reflected bright off the moon's surface, ending the last supermoon eclipse until 2033.
The total lunar eclipse comes to an end over Cape Town, South Africa.
After the lunar eclipse, the supermoon continued through the night. Although the term "supermoon" sounds grand, it is a bit overstated. As the moon orbits the Earth in a slightly eccentric path, the Earth-moon distance varies by approximately 30,000 miles, making a full moon appear 14% bigger in the night sky at the point of closest approach (perigee) compared with the point of furthest extent (apogee). Still, the moon can shine up to 30% brighter, making a supermoon appear brighter than normal.
Photo: The supermoon on Sunday night (local time) after lunar eclipse over Woodland Hills, Calif.