If you get a little mad at being locked inside your house while the coronavirus is locked and you need some nice distraction, you might want to go out and take a look at the sky Tuesday evening. That’s when the biggest and brightest “super moon” of the year shines.
Astronomical experts say the full moon on April 7 – dubbed the “pink moon” because of the pink flowers that usually start to bloom at this time of year – will have the closest orbit to Earth out of 13 full moons of 2020.
And yes, there will be 13 full moons this year instead of the usual 12, because two full moon phases will take place in October, one on October 1 and one on Halloween.
When to see the April super moon
The April super moon will officially peak at 10:35 p.m. Eastern time on April 7.
The moon will begin to rise in the eastern sky in the New York area at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday and will take place in the western sky at 7:38 am Wednesday, according to TimeAndDate.com.
If you miss the supermoon on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning, it will again appear almost 100% full Wednesday evening until Thursday morning and 97% full Thursday evening.
Astronomy buffs consider a super moon to be a full moon that follows closer to Earth than an average full moon. As a result, it appears to be 7% to 14% larger and up to 30% brighter than other full moons, especially when it begins to rise on the horizon or if weather conditions are ideal.
There is a debate within the astronomy community over the distance that the orbit of a full moon must be from our planet to be classified as a super moon.
Many experts, including those from Sky & Telescope magazine, believe that a super moon is a full moon that follows less than 223,000 miles from Earth at the point closest to its orbit, known as the perigee. TimeAndDate.com, which writes a lot about celestial events, uses 223,694 miles (360,000 kilometers) as the benchmark for supermoons.
However, some have a looser definition, saying that any full moon that is less than 226,000 miles from our planet can be classified as a super moon.
According to EarthSky.org, Tuesday night’s moon will be 221,851 miles from Earth when it is full. So whether you follow the stricter definition or the looser definition, it corresponds to the billing of a super moon.
Len Melisurgo can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @LensReality or like him on Facebook. Find NJ.com sure Facebook.