Does anyone actually believe the Moon is going to turn green? I don’t know. But I’m here to give you the devastating news that on April 20, there will not be a “Green Moon”.
This “hoax” started back in 2016, stating that on 4/20 – also known as “Weed Day” for reasons – the Moon would turn an odd shade of green. Since then, every year, it seems to do the rounds. Sometimes it’s also suggested this is the first time this will happen in 420 years.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that it’s not true. In fact, on April 20 the Moon will be just four days past a new Moon, meaning it’ll appear as only a crescent of light.
“My sweet grandma shared this thinking it’s real,” one commenter wrote on Facebook.
“I don't know what's funnier, the fact that my grandpa shared this or that it looks like everyone else's did too,” said another.
Yes, I know, it’s a bit of a shame. But the Moon does change color sometimes, during a total lunar eclipse, when it passes completely within Earth’s shadow (known as the umbra).
In this event it can turn red – often called a “blood moon” – as the Sun’s light travels through more of Earth’s atmosphere and is thus refracted more towards the red end of the spectrum. It’s similar to how a sunset or sunrise appears red on the horizon.
Then there’s also the “blue moon” as well, although that’s nothing to do with the Moon turning blue. It’s usually used to refer to the second full moon in a single calendar month. Last month, we even had a super blue blood moon, just to confuse matters.
According to Snopes, the green moon hoax first arose on Facebook in 2016, claiming that it would occur on May 29, 2016. The poster said it would turn green due to Uranus appearing near the Moon.
“The green giant is only 4 degrees away from the moon,” they wrote. “The cosmic odd-couple will appear about four degrees apart in the sky – equal to 8 full moons side-by-side.”
Since then it has evolved somewhat to involve “several planets” aligning, and now occurs on April 20. A commonly shared image proclaims it will remain green for 90 minutes.
Sadly, the Moon won’t be turning green. But there are plenty of other real astronomy events happening in 2018. You can check some of them out here.