Move over, super snow moon. There’s a new spectacular full moon in town, and it’s going to be beautiful. Just before dawn on April 19, keep an eye out for the “pink moon.”
Before you get too excited, you should know that the moon won’t actually appear pink. Instead, it’s referred to as a pink moon because it’s named after a plant known as the moss pink or wild ground phlox, which blooms around the same time of year as this full moon.
Still, just because it’s not pink does not mean that this moon will not be a sight to behold. It may look yellow, orange or red, depending on atmospheric conditions. Thanks to the moon illusion, it will appear its largest when it first peers above the horizon. You can begin looking for it on the night of April 18, although it will technically reach its peak fullness at 7:12 a.m. Eastern on Friday, April 19.
Just like Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon,” this full moon even has its very own song, 1972’s “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake:
Besides “pink moon,” April’s full moon also goes by other clever monikers, including “sprouting grass moon,” “fish moon” and “egg moon,” which is appropriate with Easter Sunday falling on April 21.
Wondering how full moons get these interesting nicknames?
“Full moon names date back to Native Americans living in what is now the northern and eastern United States,” according to Space.com. “Those tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.”
Later, European settlers adopted these names or gave full moons their own names.
To maximize your moongazing, check out this complete list of all the full moons, their nicknames, and how to best see them throughout the year.