Pink Moon rises overnight tonight! Catch April’s full moon in all its glory
The Pink Moon peaks just after midnight and during the early morning of Thursday, April 6.
April’s full moon, also known as the Pink Moon, rises tonight (April 5), and will be visible in its full glory throughout the night. Around the globe, the Pink Moon will rise at around dusk and will set at around dawn, meaning it is visible for most of the night.
In the Sky gives specific times that skywatchers can see the full moon, with it rising on Wednesday at 19:01 EDT (2301 GMT) and reaching its peak at 00:34 EDT (0434 GMT) before setting on Thursday at 06:49 EDT (1049 GMT).
Following the Pink Moon full moon phase when the moon will be fully illuminated, the portion of the lunar face lit by the sun will begin to recede, a process called “waning” by astronomers. This will lead to the next completely dark moon, or new moon phase, on April 20 according to Time and Date. This point also marks the start of the next lunar cycle and the point at which the sun’s illumination once again begins to creep back across the moon’s face, with this growing illumination known as “waxing.”
Leading to the new moon, this darkening isn’t the only change that the moon will undergo. After the Pink Moon and following April 6 the moon will rise an hour later each day and will become predominant later each subsequent night. By the time it is half illuminated, during the last quarter phase on April 13 it will rise at midnight and set around midday. Later, during the new moon phase, it will rise and set around the same time as the sun, meaning the moon is absent during the night.
The moon won’t actually be pink during the Pink Moon
While skywatchers will be presented with an incredible opportunity to see the beauty of the fully illuminated moon during the Pink Moon, one spectacle they are unlikely to see is a full moon lit in pink.
This is because, according to Farmer’s Almanac, the Pink Moon moniker is purely figurative in nature. The name actually refers to the fact that the April full moon is correlated with the springtime bloom of a pink wildflower called Phlox subulata, also traditionally known as “moss pink.” The April Pink Moon takes its name from this springtime association which originates from Native American culture like many other full moon names.
Alternative April full moon names also have strong seasonal associations. The Tlingit and Oglala people refer to this full moon as the “Budding Moon of Plants and Shrubs” and the “Moon of the Red Grass Appearing” respectively, with these names also referencing the bloom of plant life. Other seasonal names refer to other springtime phenomena that would have been significant to Native Americans like the thawing of winter ice allowing increased mobility. The Algonquin people refer to the April full moon as the “Breaking Ice Moon” and the Dakota tradition gives it the moniker “Moon When the Streams Are Again Navigable.”
If you’re hoping to catch a look at this Pink Moon our guides to the best telescopes and best binoculars are also a great place to start. If you’re looking to snap photos of the night sky in general, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon, as well as our best cameras for astrophotography andbest lenses for astrophotography.
Fancy taking a more in-depth moonlit tour of our rocky companion? Our ultimate guide to observing the moon will help you plan your next skywatching venture whether it be exploring the lunar seas, mountainous terrain, or the many craters that blanket the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo landing sites observing guide.
Editor’s Note: If you snap an image of the Pink Moon and would like to share it with Space.com’s readers, send your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to firstname.lastname@example.org.