Pink supermoon to appear in UK next week
A PINK supermoon will light up the skies next week in an amazing lunar spectacle.
Astronomy fans will be able to see the biggest moon of the year on Tuesday evening and into the early hours of Wednesday (8 April).
It is expected to be at its best when fully illuminated by the sun at around 3.35am.
The supermoon phenomenon happens when the full moon coincides with the moon being at the closest orbital point to Earth, and can appear around 30 per cent brighter than the standard moon – and up to 14 per cent bigger.
This spectacle has been named the 'Pachal moon' – originating from the Greek word for passover – as it's the first full moon to have appeared after the Spring Equinox.
Emily Drabek-Maunder, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, said: "It’s going to be spectacular.
"The supermoon is a great opportunity for everyone to appreciate the beauty of the natural world.
"While the night sky seems constant to us, we can directly witness the changing universe by taking notice of the moon."
The moon’s elliptical orbit means that, at its closest point – called the perigree – it is just over 220,000 miles from the Earth, almost 30,000 miles closer than when it’s at its furthest point.
When this perigee coincides with a new moon, the phenomenon is called a supermoon.
The moon won’t actually appear pink – the name comes from the pink wildflowers which blossom at this time of year in North America – but orange when it is low in the sky.
Nasa research scientist Noah Petroh said: "Supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the moon, not just that once but every chance they have."
Astronomer Bruce McClure of EarthSky added: "Watch for the biggest full moon of the year to shine all night long as it beams in the east after sunset April 7, climbs highest up for the night around midnight, and sets in the west around sunrise April 8."
Tuesday’s spectacle will be the second of three supermoons this year following last month’s ‘worm’ supermoon and before next month’s ‘flower’ supermoon.
Astronomers say the pink one will be the best of the trio.