If you’ve been stargazing as part of your at-home activities since the pandemic began, prepare to see the biggest and brightest supermoon of the year later tonight!
Supermoons occur when the moon is within 90% of perigee, meaning when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit. The moon will appear brighter and bigger in the night sky than it normally does.
Tonight’s full moon, known as the “pink moon”, happens to be the closest one we’ll see this year. People around the world should be able to see the supermoon at its best around 9:35 pm ET to midnight tonight and even into the early morning hours of Wednesday, according to EarthSky.org.
The pink moon name comes from native North American wildflowers that bloom in early springtime: Phlox subulata, known as “moss pink,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Even though it’s called the pink moobut it may appear more golden as it rises above the horizon. That’s due to an effect caused by our atmosphere, similar to how the sun can appear more red as it rises and sets, according to NASA.
Normally, there are 12 full moons in a year with one occurring each month. But in 2020, October will have two full moons, one on October 1 and then again on October 31.
Whenever we have two full moons in the same month, it is known as a “blue moon.” And the fact that the second one falls on Halloween truly makes this event “once in a blue moon!"
This year will have up to four supermoons total, with the next supermoon will occur on May 7.
And keep an eye on the sky in mid-April for a grouping of Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the moon in beautiful, bright alignment. This won’t happen again for a couple of years, according to NASA.