You don’t want to miss these upcoming astronomical spectacles!
We all love a good full moon, but a supermoon really gets avid astronomers and photographers talking. And a super pink moon? Well, that’s on another level!
According to AccuWeather, we will be treated to a handful of exciting phenomena in our skies this April. Be sure to keep an eye on the cosmic calendar!
The best way to spot these spectacles is by going somewhere with as few city lights as possible. Check out this light pollution map to help you!
Zodiacal Light (early April)
[Image via Shutterstock]
Zodiacal Light, sometimes called “false dawn,” is a hazy pyramid of light visible just after sunset. It’s created by interplanetary dust particles reflecting the sun’s light, causing a glow that extends upwards in a cone-like shape. Try to catch this spectacle somewhere devoid of city lights.
Lyrid Meteor Shower (April 22)
This exciting meteor shower occurs annually in April, but it reaches its peak nearly every year on the night of April 22. You can expect to see about 20 meteors per hour shooting across the night sky! The Lyrids have been mentioned in reports dating back to 687 B.C., making this the oldest recorded meteor shower. Try to see the “Lyrid fireballs” after the moon has set and just before dawn begins.
The “Super Pink Moon” (April 26)
This is the first supermoon of the year, and the highlight of astronomical events in April! Normally, supermoons occur 14 months apart, but we will see 2 in quick succession this year – one on April 26, and one on May 26.
A supermoon is a full moon that coincides with the moon’s closest orbital point to Earth (the perigee), making it 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than when at its further point from Earth (the apogee).
Don’t expect the moon to turn pink, however. The “super pink moon” is so named because Native American tribes saw it mark the appearance of the spring flower ground phlox (or moss pink).
Total Lunar Eclipse (May 26)
Here’s a bonus for those astronomy enthusiasts looking beyond April. A second supermoon will occur on May 26, 2021, but it will appear blood-red in the sky as it’s obscured by the Earth’s shadow.
According to TimeAndDate.com, this event will be visible in the skies above San Francisco between 1:47am and 6:01am, with maximum visibility at 4:18am.