Tonight, April 7, the night sky will provide one of the many celestial spectacles we are to see this month. The full moon is one of three supermoons in 2020, when our natural satellite is at its closest point to Earth and appears larger in the sky. Tonight’s moon will be the brightest of all the full moons this year.
If you are on the East Coast of the United States, the moon is set to rise just after 7pm EDT and will become full at 10:35pm EDT. In Europe, it will rise at a similar local time but will be full in the early hours of the morning. Feel free to consult the Time & Date website for exact local times.
The full moon tonight is called the Pink Moon after the name used by certain Native American tribes, according to the Maine’s Farmer Almanac. Others refer to this moon as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes, the Fish Moon. The word pink has nothing to do with the color of the Moon but instead is a reference to the herb moss pink, one of the earliest flowers of Spring on the East coast of North America.
The name of Full Moons in the almanac comes from various sources, from Native American to Anglo-Saxon, but this particular Moon is often used as an important calendar reference for many cultures and religions. Tonight’s moon is the Pesach or Passover Moon of the Hebrew lunisolar calendar, so the holiday of Pesach or Passover will begin at sundown on Wednesday, April 8. For Christians, this is the first full moon after the Spring equinox or Paschal Moon, the one happening before Easter. For many Hindus, this full moon corresponds to the Hanuman Jayanti festival, which marks the birth of Lord Sri Hanuman.
If we get technical, the astronomical name of a supermoon is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The perigee is the closest point to Earth during the Moon’s orbit and the word syzygy is the alignment of three celestial bodies.