Don’t miss the first supermoon of the year!
A full moon always gets people talking, but a supermoon, well… that’s another level of celestial spectacle entirely. Supermoons are a rare phenomenon eagerly anticipated by avid astronomers and ardent photographers in equal measure, and the first one of the year will shine in Texas skies tonight!
The “Super Pink Moon”
The highlight of April’s astronomical events is the first supermoon of the year. Supermoons are normally spaced fourteen months apart, but this year we are being treated to two in quick succession and the first, dubbed the “Super Pink Moon” will arrive tonight, April 26.
A supermoon, or rather a full moon that coincides with the moon’s closest orbital point to Earth (called the perigee), is 30 percent brighter in the night sky and 14 percent larger than when the moon is at its apogee (the furthest point from Earth). In other words, the moon illuminates the sky and offers a fantastic opportunity for photographers.
Don’t expect the moon to drastically change color, however, the pink supermoon traces its name back to early Native American tribes who called it such because it marked the appearance of the ground phlox (or moss pink) – one of the first spring flowers.
This year the moon will reach peak illumination at 10:33 pm CDT.
There will also be a second supermoon occurring on 26 May 2021, but this will be overshadowed by an even bigger astronomical event – a total lunar eclipse – causing the May supermoon to appear blood-red in the sky as it’s obscured by the Earth’s shadow.
For the best views of the two supermoons, and views of astronomical spectacles in general, it’s always recommended to head to places with as little light pollution as possible. If you’re living in the city, finding dark skies can be a little difficult. But to help you on your mission, use this light pollution map to guide your way.
[Featured image from Twitter / @DerekMellott]