Pink Moon 2023: Date, Meaning, and Other Celestial Highlights
On Thursday, April 6, 2023, the Pink Moon, also known as the full moon of April, will be shining close to the bright star Spica at its fullest.
This moon is named after the pink phlox wildflowers that typically bloom in North America during April. It will also appear bright and full on Wednesday and Friday.
April's full moon goes by various other names, including the Breaking Ice Moon, Budding Moon, Awakening Moon, and Egg Moon. For many Anishinaabeg, or Ojibwe, Indigenous people of the Great Lakes region, it is called Popogami Giizis, or Broken Snowshoe Moon, according to the Center for Native American Studies.
In addition to its other names, this month's full moon is also referred to as the Pesach or Passover Moon and the Paschal Moon due to its association with religious festivals. The Jewish festival of Passover begins at sunset on Wednesday, April 5, and ends at nightfall on Thursday, April 13, 2023. The date of the Paschal Moon is used to calculate the date of Easter, which falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring. Western Christianity will celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 9, 2023, which is the Sunday after the Pink Moon. Eastern Orthodox Easter will occur a week later on Sunday, April 16, according to NASA.
The full moon also holds significance in other cultures and religions. In the Hindu lunisolar calendar, this full moon is celebrated as the Hanuman Jayanti festival, while for Buddhists in Sri Lanka, it is known as Bak Poya.
The optimal time to observe the full moon rise in the east is on Thursday, April 6, shortly after sunset. Check the times of moonrise and moonset for your location and find a location with a clear, low view of the eastern horizon.
According to NASA, the bright star Spica, located in the constellation Virgo, will be situated about 8 degrees to the lower left of the Pink Moon on the night it is fullest. On the following night, Friday, April 7, the waning gibbous moon will be positioned just 3 degrees from Spica.
When the full moon is seen near the horizon during its rise or set, it appears orange due to a phenomenon called Rayleigh scattering. This occurs because the moon's light has to pass through more of the Earth's atmosphere to reach the observer, causing the shorter wavelengths of blue light to scatter when they encounter molecules in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, longer-wavelength reddish and orange light is less likely to be scattered and can more easily pass through. This is also why the sky appears blue and why sunrises and sunsets often have a reddish hue.
Following the Pink Moon, the next full moon is set to occur on May 5. Known as the Flower Moon, it is also referred to as the Corn Planting Moon and Milk Moon. During this full moon, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse as the moon moves into the Earth's outer shadow in space.Advertisement