Thursday’s ‘pink’ full moon to coincide with lunar eclipse

Tomorrow's 'Pink Moon' will live up to its nameWe humans love to give names to things, and full moons are no exception. April's full moon goes by several different names, including 'Seed Moon' and 'Growing Moon', but this year 'Pink Moon' is going to jump to the top of the list for a lot of people due to a partial lunar eclipse.

The April full moon didn't earn the name 'Pink Moon' due to there being more lunar eclipses in April, though. According to the Farmer's Almanac, it got the name due to the colour of the flowers that bloom on an herb called 'moss pink' or 'wild ground phlox', which is an early-blooming spring plant.

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For anyone in North or South America, the Moon won't look any different to you tomorrow night, since the eclipse happens between around 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. EDT, before the Moon rises. However, if you're in Europe, Africa, Asia or Australia, you'll be able to watch the Moon change colour as it slips through part of Earth's shadow.

This is only going to be a partial lunar eclipse, as the Moon passes through the Earth's penumbra and only a tiny sliver of the Moon's north pole slips through the darker umbra. However, that will still be enough to paint the surface of the Moon reddish or pink, letting it live up to that traditional name.

For anyone disappointed that they won't be able to watch this event, it's really only the precursor to next month's Annular Solar Eclipse, when the Moon will pass between the Sun and the Earth at such a distance that it will make the Sun look like a ring of fire in the sky.

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(Images courtesy: Reuters, Wikimedia Commons)

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