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April's Pink Moon Set To Rise Thursday Night

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Skywatchers have another reason to get excited this week as the moon that will rise on April 21 is not like any other moon. Pink moon will be seen on Thursday night into Friday morning, but it's nothing to get excited about, the moon will not look pink at all.

The term "Pink moon" is only a name Algonquin Indians gave for the first full moon in April. For those who want to see the moon in its fullest, it is expected to happen at 1:24 a.m. on April 22.

This year, this event coincides with lunar apogee during which the moon is at its farthest orbital location, about 252,000 miles away from Earth. This month's full moon is slightly smaller than usual, so, it's dubbed "mini pink moon."

Fortunately for skywatchers, they will get to witness two sky events in just one night. The Lyrid meteor shower, which is also expected to peak on the wee hours of Friday, will light up the dark skies.

Though this shower is not the biggest one, it can throw about 20 fireballs per hour.

"Almost no one has a wide open dark sky anymore and this year there will be bright moonlight flooding the sky," said Alan MacRobert, senior editor of Sky and Telescope.

"It's nature's own light pollution that will affect the sky even if you were out in the wilderness," he added.

Native Americans, who have a habit of naming full moons, linked lunar cycles to seasons and nature. For instance, they named January's full moon as "Wolf" because this moon appeared when wolves howled outside the villages. Sometimes, they call it the "Old moon."

February is called the "Snow moon" since the heaviest snow fall happens during this month. For hunters in the past, too much snow fall was linked to hardships that is why this moon is also called the "Hunger moon."

March is called the "Spring moon" since it's the month when plants start to grow. Sometimes Native Americans call it the "Sap Moon" because this is the time when maple sap begins to flow.

Photo: Ulrich Peters | Flickr

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