April's Pink Moon To Light Up the Night Sky
SAN ANGELO, TX – The Moon will be full on Tuesday night, April 7, 2020, appearing opposite the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 10:35 PM EDT. The Moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Monday night through Thursday morning.
April's full Moon is classified as a supermoon. The term "supermoon" was coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a new or full Moon that occurs within 90% of perigee, its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit. Under this definition, in a typical year there can be 3 or 4 full Supermoons in a row and (about half a year apart) 3 or 4 new Supermoons in a row. In practice, what catches the public's attention are the full Moons that appear biggest and brightest each year. For 2020, the four full Moons from February to May meet this 90% threshold, with the full Moons in March and April nearly tied in size and brightness. This full Moon will be slightly closer to the Earth (about 0.1%) than the March full Moon was, so this will be the "most super" of the full supermoons this year.
In the Maine Farmer's Almanac first published "Indian" names for the full Moons in the 1930's. According to this Almanac, as the full Moon in April and the first full Moon of spring, this is the Pink Moon, a name that comes from the herb moss pink, also known as creeping phlox, moss phlox, or mountain phlox, which is native to the eastern USA and one of the earliest widespread flowers of Spring. Other names for this Moon include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Fish Moon, as this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.
This is the Pesach or Passover Moon. Pesach or Passover begins at sundown on Wednesday, April 8, and ends at nightfall on Thursday, April 16, 2020. In the Hebrew lunisolar calendar the months change with the new Moon and full Moons fall in the middle of the lunar months. This full Moon is in the middle of Nisan.
In the Christian ecclesiastical calendar this is the Paschal Moon, the full Moon from which the date of Easter is calculated. Paschal is the Latinized version of Pesach. Generally, the Christian holiday of Easter, also called Pascha, is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full Moon of spring. However, there are differences between the times of these astronomical events and the calendars used by the Eastern and Western churches. This is one of the years where it makes a difference. Western Christianity will celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 12, 2020, while Eastern Christianity will celebrate Easter a week later, on Sunday, April 19, 2020.
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