2021 Super ‘Pink’ Moon – April’s Supermoon To Be 2nd Biggest, Brightest For The Year

Trinidad and Tobago skies will be lit by the Pink Moon, rising on the night of Monday, April 26th. It is the first  supermoon of 2021.

This will be the first of three larger than usual full moons, which will occur in three consecutive months – April 26th/27th 2021, May 26th/27th (the largest visible supermoon for 2021), and June 24th/25th, 2021.

The April 2021 Super Moon

Supermoons occur annually. It is not a harbinger of natural disasters or the end of the world, but part of the moon’s orbit around Earth.

What makes this moon ‘Super’

 Perigee versus Apogee (Supermoon vs Micromoons)
Perigee versus Apogee (Supermoon vs Micromoons)

The moon has an elliptical orbit around Earth in the same way that the Earth has an elliptical orbit around the Sun. This results in a point in its orbit where the Moon will be closest to (perigee) and furthest away (apogee) from the earth.

During a Supermoon, which is not a scientific term, a perigee syzygy occurs – meaning that the Earth, Sun, and Moon are all in alignment.

What’s the definition of a supermoon through? TimeandDate.com says, “There are no official rules as to how close or far the moon must be to qualify as a supermoon or a micro moon. Different outlets use different definitions. Due to this, a full moon classified as a supermoon by one source may not qualify as a super full moon by another.” But their definition is “a Supermoon is designated when the Moon is less than 360,000 Kilometers away from the center of the Earth and appears about 7% brighter than an average full Moon.”

Based on that definition, the only two visible supermoons of 2021 would be April’s and May’s.

Here are the distances (as measured between the centers of the moon and Earth) for the three upcoming full moon supermoons:

  • Full moon (April 27, 2021): 222,212 miles or 357,615 km
  • Full moon (May 26, 2021): 221,851 miles or 357,462 km
  • Full moon (June 24, 2021): 224,652 miles or 361,558 km

In contrast, the most distant and smallest full moon of the year will fall on December 19, 2021. Sometimes called a micromoon, it’ll be 252,235 miles (405,932 km) away. That’s a whopping 30,118 miles (48,470 km) farther away than the year’s closest and biggest full moon on May 26, 2021.

Eliot Herman in Tuscon also compared the June full moon with the November 2016 supermoon. He wrote: “A comparison of the closest supermoon since 1948 on November 14, 2016 with farthest mini-moon on June 9, 2017. Both images captured with a Questar telescope and a Nikon D800 camera. The images were combined with Photoshop.”
Eliot Herman in Tuscon also compared the June full moon with the November 2016 supermoon. He wrote: “A comparison of the closest supermoon since 1948 on November 14, 2016 with farthest mini-moon on June 9, 2017. Both images captured with a Questar telescope and a Nikon D800 camera. The images were combined with Photoshop.”

Supermoons can be both full moons (visible), such as the April, May, and June supermoons, and new moons (unable to see from Earth). These new Supermoons will occur on:

  • November 4, 2021: 223,604 miles (359,856 km)
  • December 4, 2021: 221,708 miles (356,804 km)

A Super Pink Moon? What does it mean?

These names – wolf, snow, worm, pink, etc., date back to Native Americans living in what is now the northern and eastern United States. 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.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that the moon will actually be pink. This supermoon got its name because the April full moon often corresponds with the blooming of pink flowers in eastern North America.

You can read more about the naming of the different moons throughout the year at Space.com.

When is the best time to view the Supermoon?

The best time to enjoy a Super Full Moon, or any other Full Moon, is just after moonrise, when the Moon is close to the horizon. Just before moonset is also a good time.

When the moon rises, it does so a delicate orange, which turns to yellow, and then, as it rises higher into the sky, it becomes a bright, white orb that’s impossible to look at without hurting your eyes. It also looks bigger than when it’s high in the sky because the human brain perceives things larger when they are surrounded by other objects, such as trees, buildings, and mountains.

This is called the Moon illusion, and actually makes more of a difference to what it looks like than the real boost you get from it being a bit closer to Earth. (timeanddate.com)

King Tides to Begin

Perigean Spring Tides

With every full moon, we get spring tides. During spring tides, the tidal range is larger than normal. This means there are higher than average high tides and lower than average low tides occur.

With every supermoon, however, we can get a phenomenon called King Tides, or Perigean spring tides. During king tides, the tidal range is even higher than usual, with higher high tides and lower low tides than usual. This can be particularly hazardous to coastal communities that suffer from coastal flooding, particularly if it coincides with a hazardous seas event.

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