AIR AND SPACE

The pink moon? More like mini-moon

Rainclouds loom over the full moon after a total lunar eclipse in Kathmandu April 4, 2015. (REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)

Rainclouds loom over the full moon after a total lunar eclipse in Kathmandu April 4, 2015. (REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar)

Stargazers who step outside tonight will likely get to see the fabled “pink moon” of April, but unfortunately, unless viewed through tinted glasses, it won’t be pink. In fact, it should actually look smaller than usual.

The pink moon is the name for April’s full moon, earning its nickname from a pink flower called wild ground flox, NASA explained in a statement it released when astronaut Soichi Noguchi photographed a pink moon in April of 2010.  

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The April full moon has other names, too, like fish moon, grass moon, and egg moon.

The moon this evening will appear to be smaller than usual because it is at its furthest point from the Earth, or apogee, according to EarthSky, which also notes that this moon goes by the name micro-moon or mini-moon. The moon as seen from the Earth is fully illuminated when the Earth, moon, and Sun are lined up with the Earth in between the two.

In November, the moon will be full when it is at its closest to the Earth— in fact, about 30,000 miles closer than April’s mini-moon—and will be known as a supermoon.