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Supermoon 2020: April’s pink supermoon – all you need to know

The biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020, the so-called Full Pink Moon, will make an appearance over three nights in early April. Here is everything you need to know about the Supermoon.

Supermoon 2020

The Pink Moon will be at its peak this year in the UK early on Wednesday, April 8 at 3:55 am

But should you miss the peak in the early hours, a full moon always appears

for three days centred around the peak.

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The Moon orbits Earth on an irregular trajectory that brings it closer to and further from us on different nights.

When the Moon is closest, it reaches its lunar perigee or lowest orbital height.

When the Moon is furthest away from us, it is said to be at apogee or its highest orbital height.

If a full moon appears within 90 percent of perigee or apogee, we call it a supermoon or micromoon, respectively.

Supermoon
© westbridgfordwire.com
Supermoon November 2016

The supermoon officially arrives on Tuesday. But nearly full moons on Monday and Wednesday evenings will make for equally great viewing.

The moon won’t actually appear to be pink. The “pink” moon that appears every April gets its nickname from the shrub-like wild phlox that covers the ground in the spring.

Supermoons happen a few times a year when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit. The name comes from appearing about 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon.

The US space agency NASA said: “The term ‘Supermoon’ was coined in 1979 and is often used today to describe what astronomers would call a perigean Full Moon: a Full Moon occurring near or at the time when the Moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

“The term gives preference to the geometric alignment of Sun-Earth-Moon and allows the occurrence of perigee into a wider time period than the actual instant of perigee – up to about two weeks, which is almost half of the Moon’s orbit.”

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