A Pink Moon


Grace Avelino

On the twenty-sixth of April, there was a Pink Supermoon, or ‘perigee-syzygy; if you want to be scientific. Perigee is where the Moon is at the position in its oval-shaped orbit where it is closest to the Earth and syzygy is when three celestial bodies, in this case being the Sun, Earth, and Moon, are all lined up. The fact that the Moon is closer to Earth during Supermoons, of course, makes it appear bigger. This year has two supermoons, the one on April 26 and another on May 26, next month.

Now about the Moon being pink, the Moon does not really turn pink, just like how the moon does not change its color during blue moons and blood moons, for instance, despite the pictures that come up when ‘pink moon’ is searched. AstroReality.com illustrates the different reasons the Moon seems to change in color, those being, during total lunar eclipses, when the Moon turns a reddish hue since there’s almost zero sunlight hitting its surface, when the Moon is rising or setting, or when increased dust or smoke particles in the atmosphere from Earthy affairs such as massive forest fires or volcanic eruptions sometimes make the Moon emanate blue. During the Moon rises and sets, you see the Moon through more atmosphere and thus, all the dust, moisture, and clouds in the air within it than when the Moon is right over you. All these particles scatter the shorter wavelengths of blue light easily, leaving behind the longer wavelengths of red and orange light in the atmosphere, causing the Moon to appear to be red.

In actuality, April’s full moon is called the ‘pink moon’ because it is associated with a type of wildflower that has a habit of blooming with the full moon, explains The Old Farmer’s Almanac. This wildflower is called Phlox subulata, or ‘moss pink’, hence the name, ‘Pink’ Moon. Other springtime occurrences have prompted Native Americans, Colonial Americans, and Europeans to come up with the alternate, while less popular names for the full moon such as Fish Moon, Hare Moon, Frog Moon, Egg Moon, and more.

Yes, supermoons get bigger and brighter than normal but only by 14% bigger in diameter and 30% brighter at the most, according to jpl.nasa.gov.  If this supermoon had occurred during a clear night you could have seen it peak at 11:32 p.m. Even though it was cloudy during this year’s pink moon, the difference would have been so slight, in fact, you most likely wouldn’t even be able to tell it apart from the previous full moon from last March.