April 11 marks the next New Moon of 2021. Night Sky Tourist has claimed 2021 as our Year of the Moon and we plan to learn all about our nearest celestial neighbor.
Here is what is coming from the New Moon in April through the New Moon in May:
April 11: New Moon
April 19: First Quarter
April 26: Full Moon
May 3: Third Quarter
May 11: New Moon
The Full Moon on April 26 will be called the Super Pink Moon. But before you get too excited, no, it’s not going to look pink.
Some Indigenous People knew it as the Pink Moon because April was the time when wildflowers, such as the Moss Pink, or Wild Ground Phlox, were in bloom.
Why is it super? This is the first of two Supermoons this year. The second will be next month on May 26. A Supermoon appears much larger than an average Full Moon by about seven percent. As a result, it appears about fifteen percent brighter, too.
The Moon does not orbit in a perfect circle around Earth. A Supermoon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is at its closest distance to Earth. Just how close will it be? In the neighborhood of 224,000 miles.
However, you should know that the term “Supermoon” is not officially an astronomical term. In fact, it was never used until 1979! Its astronomical name is “perigee syzygy”. Yeah, we like “Supermoon” better, too.
Although the difference in size between a Supermoon, a regular Full Moon, or a Moon at its farthest distance is not easy for us to recognize, the Moon does appear larger when it is rising or setting. However, that is just a lovely illusion.
The April Full Moon had other names across the various cultures, especially ones that referred to spring themes. The Algonquin called it the Breaking Ice Moon, the Lakota called it the Moon When the Ducks Come Back, the Dakota called it the Moon When the Geese Lay Eggs, and the Cree called it the Frog Moon.
Learn more about the Moon and and Moon lore at The Old Farmer’s Almanac.