(CBSN) — Americans across the country can take a welcome break from coronavirus confinement as a super “pink moon” rises in the sky Tuesday night. It will be the largest supermoon of 2020, according to EarthSky.
This full moon coincides with the lunar perigee – the moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit, which gives it the appearance of being bigger. When it becomes a full moon at 10:35 p.m. ET Tuesday, it will be just 221,851 miles away from Earth.
Despite its name, the moon won’t won’t actually turn pink, according to Jacqueline Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History. The moniker is linked to the spring season and a wildflower native to North America called moss phlox that blossoms in beautiful pink colors, she said.
“They are one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring, therefore the first full moon of April got the name,” Faherty told CBS News. “It’s hard to say when the naming occurred. It stems from Native American traditions.”
The pink moon is viewable all over the globe, if weather permits. While most of the world is confined to their homes because of a coronavirus measures put in place to stop the spread of the virus, Faherty said she believes this is a great time to “re-acquaint ourselves with the cosmos.”
She had some suggestions for those interested in seeing Tuesday night’s phenomenon.
“Another great thing about a full moon is that it is up all night,” she said. “It rises in the East and sets in the West so [it] will cross the sky for you. If you are in an apartment and not interested or capable of stepping outside, get yourself to your window and figure out what direction you are facing. The moon will hopefully make an appearance for you at some point in the evening.”
“If you can step outside for a moment, I most definitely suggest watching the moonrise,” she added. The moonrise, which occurs as the sun sets, will happen at about 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Catching the moon as it passes your local landscape can be dramatic and simply gorgeous (and it’s perfectly safe to view),” she said. “So I encourage everyone to get themselves set up about an hour before sunset with loved ones (and maybe a glass of their favorite current beverage) and watch the supermoon rise above your horizon.”