If you've managed to see the evening sky these past couple of days, you may have noticed something different with the moon. Instead of being at its usual size, it appears to be at its smallest of the year. This event is called the "pink moon," and contrary to what its name implies, it has nothing to do with changing the color of the moon.
The pink moon phenomenon typically occurs when Earth's natural satellite enters its full moon phase during April.
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the celestial event received its name from the Algonquin tribes in the New England and Lake Superior regions who had a knack for naming the full moons of each month after various colors.
These early people nicknamed April's full moon based on the appearance of a pink flower known as the wild ground phlox. Other names for the pink moon include the Egg Moon, the Fish Moon and the Sprouting Grass Moon.
The noticeable trait of the pink moon is not actually its color but its size. It seems to be a lot smaller than usual because the moon is at its furthest point from Earth during this period. The satellite is approximately 50,000 kilometers (30,000 miles) away from its host planet.
In comparison, the moon will be at its closest point to Earth on Nov. 14, resulting in another "super moon" event. It is also expected to be a lot closer to the planet on this day than in any other point this century.
Despite having an odd sounding name, the pink moon is a well-known celestial event that happens every year. It is not a product of an online hoax just like the "green moon" phenomenon that circulated on social media a few days ago.
A Facebook user posted that the moon would turn green on April 20 as a result of the emerald planet Uranus parking itself only 4 degrees away from Earth's satellite.
However, this claim was opposed by experts who said that the circumstances behind the event are more likely connected to the celebration of National Weed Day.
Photo: Nick Goodrum | Flickr