Why are we talking about a vernal “super pink moon”?

The full moon on the night of Saturday, April 16–Sunday, April 17, 2022 is nicknamed the “Super Pink Moon”. It won’t be “super” or “pink”… (©Ganapathy Kumar / Unsplash)

Have you heard of the “Super Pink Moon” that is said to be visible in the sky? in the night from Saturday 16 to Sunday 17 April 2022 ? “It has no real astronomical meaning,” sweeps Michel Arnaud of the Querqueville Astronomical Group (GAQ).

At the risk of disappointing star lovers, the full moon will not be cloaked in pink in the sky, nor will it be larger than usual. That supermoon or “supermoon” was actually theorized by the American astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 with no real scientific basis. This term has since then widely used in part by the Anglo-Saxons and NASAwhich “relates more to communication than to astronomy,” says Michel Arnaud.

A phenomenon imperceptible to the naked eye

In reality, the full moon on the night of April 16-17 is not that different from the others. At least with the naked eye. Because if the moon is actually in perigee that night, i.e. at the point closest to earth on its orbit, “We can’t really see these variations, it’s just an optical illusion”explains Dominique Boust, President of the GAQ.

It will certainly be closer to us, but there will only be “about 11% difference” between a “classic” full moon and the one we can see in the sky next night, specifies Michel Arnaud. The star is also getting brighter.

An orange-red color

As for the color of the moon, it can actually vary, moving towards orange-red. “It is partially connected to the Earth’s atmosphere, which filters sunlight,” says Michel Arnaud.

Despite everything, this moon, also called “Spring Moon”, has a symbolic and poetic character, at the crossroads of many religions and beliefs, as NASA explains.

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“If it can make people look up at the sky…”

Dominique BustPresident of GAQ

While he has many reservations about popularizing the “supermoon,” Dominique Boust fumes: “If it allows people to look up at the sky and watch it, lift their heads and see there are fewer stars because of Light pollution and a little dreaming, that’s the main thing. That is the only interest I see in this communication around this full moon…”

On the other hand, it will be possible to observe a total lunar eclipse on May 16th!

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