Here's something to look forward to next week: The biggest, brightest supermoon of 2020 will be appearing in the night sky Tuesday, April 7.
"Watch for the biggest full moon of the year to shine all night long as it beams in the east after sunset April 7, climbs highest up for the night around midnight, and sets in the west around sunrise April 8," EarthSky's Bruce McClure said.
The full moon occurs precisely at 10:35 p.m. EDT on April 7, according to EarthSky.
Of the three supermoons this year, April's supermoon will come closest to our planet – and thus appear the largest. April's supermoon is the second of three to take place in in a row, following March's super worm moon and preceding May's super flower moon, due to take place on May 7, Newsweek said.
What's a supermoon?
A supermoon occurs when the moon is especially close to Earth while it’s full. The moon's closeness to Earth, naturally, makes it look extra-close and extra-bright – up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than a full moon at its farthest point from Earth.
The term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle. It has become an increasingly more popular and media-friendly term in the decades since then. According to NASA, it's used by the media today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.
Due to the optical effect known as the moon illusion, the full moon can seem huge when rising behind distant objects on the horizon. A supermoon appears especially impressive.
We have 13 full moons to look forward to in 2020. Here's when you can see them.
Why is it called a 'pink' supermoon?
The full moon this month is also nicknamed the pink moon. But don't look for a pinkish hue to the moon this month:
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, April’s full moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of Phlox subulata, a pink wildflower native to eastern North America. The wildflower is commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox – and also goes by the name “moss pink."
For millennia, people across the world, including Native Americans, named the months after nature’s cues. The Old Farmers' Almanac said that full moon names in our part of the world date back to the Native Americans who lived in the northern and eastern USA.
Each full moon has its own name, from January's wolf moon to December's cold moon.