Manchester will be a little brighter by night thanks to tomorrow’s supermoon.
Alright, so lockdown life isn’t exactly the Platonic ideal, but at least the firmament is trying its hardest to keep us entertained. After we saw Mars and Jupiter have a close encounter, and Venus make an appearance in the Pleiades, it’s now time for the Moon to put on a show. And a show is exactly what it’s got planned for tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 7th), when it’ll shine a little bigger and brighter in the guise of a supermoon.
During a supermoon, the Moon appears up to 14% larger than usual, as it reaches the closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit (a point called the perigee). When this point coincides with a full moon, you get a supermoon, which is also expected to be some 30% brighter than usual. Tomorrow’s supermoon is the first full moon of spring, known as a ‘pink moon’ in the commonly-used Native American naming custom. The best time to see it is as it rises not long before 7pm, and you’ll be able to spot it on the eastern horizon – although the Met Office’s prediction of evening clouds might spoil the party somewhat. You should be able to catch it setting around 6:45am on the morning of the 8th, too.
In fact, this month’s pink moon is set to be the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year, which is quite the feat given that we saw them in February and March, and have another scheduled for May. It’s the Moon’s closest pass of the Earth this year – at some 221,000 miles away – and this proximity will make it look rather imposing when rising, as the contrast between the Moon and the horizon will make it seem bigger to the human eye. To get the best view of it, you’re advised to find a high point looking east – although, with the nation in lockdown, this will probably involve you invading a flatmate’s bedroom for the best look.
Despite the name, it won’t actually be pink; instead, it’ll rise through shades of pale orange and yellow as it climbs into the sky, before turner paler and whiter as it reaches the zenith of its ascent. The ‘pink moon’ name lies with Native American naming traditions, which give the full moon of each month a distinctive name – so pink moon for April, flower moon in May, strawberry moon in June, and so on.
Should you miss April’s supermoon, May will be your last chance to see one, as it’s the final supermoon of 2020. So, eyes peeled on the horizon tomorrow night, folks!
[Originally published on Secret London]