It’s officially springtime, and the first full moon of the season will arrive this weekend.
Despite its colorful name, however, the moon will not be pink. It’ll be the same color as every other full moon throughout the year, but the pink name does have everything to do with the time of year.
This springtime full moon is called the pink moon because it coincides with the early spring blooms of the perennial wildflower Phlox subulata, or moss pink — also known as creeping phlox. This plant is native to the eastern U.S., and it’s one of the earliest widespread flowers of spring.
The April full moon also goes by lesser-known names like Egg Moon and Sprouting Grass Moon. Both of these names relate to the spring season because birds begin to lay their eggs this time of year, and the grass begins to sprout up and turn green again.
The Pink Moon of 2022
However, “Pink Moon” is the most widespread and popular name in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Pink Full Moon officially occurs on Saturday, April 16 at 2:55 p.m. EDT, but fortunately for observant skywatchers and astronomers, the moon will appear full both Friday night and Saturday night.
This is also the first full moon of spring, so it’s also called the Paschal Full Moon, which is significant to anyone who celebrates Easter. “Paschal” is the Greek word for Passover.
The annual date for Easter is determined based on the date of this full moon — the holiday is celebrated on the Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox.
The full moon has significance in other religions as well. For Hindus, the date corresponds with the celebration of the birth of Lord Hanuman called Hanuman Jayanti. For Buddhists, this moon commemorates the visit Buddha made to Sri Lanka to stop a war and is called Bak Poya. April’s full moon falls in the third month of the Chinese calendar and arrives near the middle of Ramadan, the holy month in which the Quran was revealed, on the Islamic calendar.
Supermoons and Other Celestial Events Coming Up in 2022
The full moon occurs roughly every 29.5 days, which typically translates to one full moon per month.
The different phases of the moon occur because of the moon’s rotation around the Earth. As the moon rotates, we only see the part of the moon reflecting the sunlight.
Each of the major moon phases — new moon, first quarter (also called a half moon), full moon and last quarter — are each about 7.4 days apart. This month, the new moon arrived on April 1 and the first quarter started April 9. The last quarter begins on April 23.
Besides the blooming flowers and a Pink Moon in 2022 named for them, the spring season has plenty to offer for observant moon watchers.
Four Supermoons In A Row
Next month’s full moon will be quite the event. The May full moon is the first of four supermoons in a row, which will last take us into the summer months.
Additionally, May’s full moon will undergo a total lunar eclipse on May 16, which will be visible from North America. A total lunar eclipse only occurs when the moon, Earth, and the sun are in perfect alignment. April’s moon actually undergoes a partial solar eclipse on April 30, but that won’t be visible without a special sun filter.
The June 14 full moon is called the Strawberry Moon, and on July 13 you can see the Buck Full Moon. The Aug. 11 full moon is named the Full Sturgeon Moon, and it’s followed by Sept. 10’s Harvest Moon.
Don’t miss the Pink Full Moon this weekend and the first supermoon of 2022 next month on the night of Sunday, May 15. And keep your eyes to the sky for other astronomical events throughout the year!