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Posted by Temmy Tue, April 27, 2021 11:03am
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Pink supermoon 2021: Will the full moon in April actually appear bigger, brighter and more colourful?

A supermoon rises over Worthing pier on 7 April, 2020 in Worthing, United Kingdom (Getty Images)
A supermoon rises over Worthing pier on 7 April, 2020 in Worthing, United Kingdom

The next full moon will pass within just 360,000km (224,000 miles) of Earth, making it the first supermoon of 2021.

Appearing on 27 April, this month’s full moon is also referred to as the Pink Moon due to the time of year that it occurs.

This rare Pink supermoon will appear bigger and brighter in the night’s sky due to its proximity to Earth, and in certain places it may even appear pink.

The Pink Moon name was first given to April’s full moon by Native American tribes and colonial settlers in the US, as it traditionally coincided with the flowering of a type of pink moss called Phlox Subulata.

Under the right conditions, the moon can actually appear to have a pink hue, though it will be purely coincidental if this phenomenon occurs for April’s pink supermoon.

Clouds, dust, smoke or air pollution can alter the atmosphere in such a way that the sun’s light reflected off the moon towards Earth is filtered of certain colours of the light spectrum.

The moon will also appear bigger and brighter when it is close to the horizon, due to an effect known as the Moon Illusion.

This occurs when the eye is tricked into comparing the size of objects that are within the line of sight, such as buildings or trees.

The moon will rise at 7.28pm on 26 April and set at 6.04am on 27 April, meaning the peak will fortunately coincide with its approach of the horizon.

This month’s full moon will be the first of two supermoons in 2021, with the next one taking place on 26 May. According to Nasa’s Gordon Johnston, May’s supermoon will be the biggest and brightest of the year – but only just.

“The term ‘supermoon’ was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 and refers to either a new or full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90 per cent of perigee, its closest approach to Earth,” he wrote in a recent blog post.

“These two full moons are virtually tied, with the full moon on 26 May, 2021, slightly closer to the Earth than the full moon [in April], but only by about 157km, or about 0.04 per cent of the distance from Earth to the moon at perigee.”

April’s full moon will peak at 4.31am BST on Tuesday 27 April, but will appear full to casual observers for two days either side.

Long range weather forecasts from the UK’s Met Office state that “a settled regime” will be in place across much of the country at this time, offering a great opportunity for stargazers to view the celestial spectacle.

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