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26th Apr 2021

There’s a “Super Pink Moon” coming tonight, here’s what you need to know

Stephen Porzio

You will want to keep an eye on the sky.

A “Super Pink Moon” is set to illuminate skies across Ireland on Tuesday morning.

For those who don’t know, a supermoon is a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of the perigee, the moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit.

When this occurs, the moon will appear around 30% brighter and 15% larger than when the moon is at its furthest point from the Earth.

That said, those expecting to see the moon actually change colour will be disappointed.

The pink part of its name is derived from the Phlox subulata flowers that bloom in April in the US, one of the earliest widespread flowers of spring.

So we’re sorry to say the moon will not, in fact, be pink. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Instead, the moon will take on its typical golden hue as it rises, then turn bright white as it climbs higher in the sky.

The April full moon may also be referred to as the sprouting grass moon, the egg moon and the fish moon.

According to NASA, the full moon will be closest to Earth and thus, will reach peak illumination, shortly after 4.30am Irish time on Tuesday morning.

However, editor of Astronomy Ireland Magazine David Moore gave JOE some tips on how to get the best view of the phenomenon.

He said: “The best nights are really Monday and Tuesday nights… The best time to see it is actually when it’s rising.

“The reason is that as well as the moon looking bigger because it’s a supermoon, it’s slightly closer to us than normal… there’s a thing called the “moon illusion” that happens when the moon is low on the horizon.

“It appears bigger to the naked eye. It’s an optical illusion so it’s not real. It isn’t actually bigger but it looks two or three times bigger.

“Add that into the fact that it really is bigger as well and you get the most spectacular full moon rising.”

To experience this, Moore advised people to get up on a hill or if they are near water, to look over a sea or lake – away from any trees or buildings.

He also said the clear skies forecasted for early next week should help enhance people’s view of the phenomenon.

This full moon is the first of two supermoons for 2021, with a Super Flower Moon set to occur around 26 May – which will come even closer to Earth.

For more information, visit Astronomy Ireland’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

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