This year’s Pink Moon will be full — maybe a bit bigger — but no, not pink.
“The Pink Moon is just the name that’s given to the full moon in April,” said David Joffe, associate professor of physics at Kennesaw State University.
The Pink Moon is the first full moon after the spring equinox, Joffe said, and there’s no specific scientific phenomenon behind it. Rather, there’s a cultural one, he said, connected to humankind’s more agriculture-focused history — hence many months’ full moons bearing botanical names.
“There’s the Harvest Moon in September, the (Blue) Flower Moon in May and the Pink Moon is the one in April,” he said. “Even the Pink Moon (is) related to the earliest spring blossoms, which are generally pink blossoms.”
Joffe said this year’s Pink Moon, which will appear most full early on Good Friday, will still be a pleasant one to view. The April 19 full moon will be slightly larger than normal and could have a yellow or orange tint, depending on weather and atmospheric conditions, he said.
“If it’s clear skies, we should expect a reasonably big full moon. The full moon can be slightly bigger or smaller, depending on where the moon is on its orbit, and this month, the moon will be closer to Earth than average ... which makes it a more impressive viewing,” Joffe said. “It will be a particularly nice April full moon.”
If you haven’t been put off by the regular moon masquerading as pink and you still want to catch it at its most colorful, the best time will be just after 7 a.m. on Friday as sunrise and moonset cross, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
“This affects the sun as well. As the sun gets lower and lower in the horizon, it takes on more of a reddish hue, and that’s because you’re viewing it through more and more atmosphere as it gets lower,” he said. “When you look at both the sun and the moon on the horizon, you see more orange and red.”
For best viewing, Joffe said anywhere that either the east or west horizon is plainly visible is the best seat. He said if you want to catch the full moon on its way up, look east, and if you want to get up early and catch it setting, look west.
Joffe said though some may be disappointed in the Pink Moon’s lack of reddish tint, the lunar event is an opportunity for reflection, especially this year.
“There seems to have been more and more interest lately in what’s going on in the sky, and I think that’s a great thing,” he said. “It’s something that connects us both to the natural world, but also to some very old traditions. Passover always coincides with the full moon and Good Friday coincides exactly with the full moon this year ... so it’s a good time to think about all this stuff.”
Here are Thursday evening and Friday morning’s moon viewing forecasts in Marietta, according to AccuWeather:
♦ Thursday evening: Moonrise will begin at 7:32 a.m., and sunset will begin at 8:12 p.m. Cloud cover is expected at 99%, and temperatures are expected between 68 – 73 degrees. The chance of rain is 25%.
♦ Friday morning: Sunrise will begin at 7:03 a.m., and moonset will begin at 8:04 a.m. Cloud cover is expected at about 94%, and temperatures are expected between 62 – 65 degrees. The chance of rain is 55%.