Tuesday night, sky-lookers will be treated to this year’s rendition of the Pink Moon, one of the many names given to April’s full moon. Some of you should prepare to be disappointed, however, as the moon will definitely not appearing be pink in colour.
At 2:08 am Eastern Standard Time, to be precise, the moon will be positioned exactly opposed to the Sun on the other side of the Earth, according to space.com. For everyday observers, it will look full during the stretch between April 10 and April 12.
Today, those in the Northern Hemisphere can watch the Sun and moon do a good job tag-teaming the day away, as the sun rises at 6:25 am EST, only three minutes after the moon has dropped below the horizon, while at night, the moon will take to the sky once again at 7:03 pm, in time for sunset just a half-hour later.
Also given other traditional names such as the Egg Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon and Fish Moon, April’s full moon gets its name from the seasonal changes at this time of year, including the appearance of phlox, a pink flower which shows up in early spring across the United States, Canada and Siberia.
For Christians, way back in 325 CE, the date for Easter was determined as the Sunday following the first full moon after the March equinox, meaning that Easter can come as early as March 22 but also as late as April 25. This year’s Easter will be April 16. In Judaism, Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar, which usually translates to the 15th of Nisan landing on the first full moon past the vernal equinox, as well, with this year’s Passover commencing today.
The next few years are tuning up to be big, as far as humans doing stuff with the moon are concerned. Along with a handful of privately-funded ambitions, China, Russia, the European Space Agency and NASA have all announced plans to travel to or nearby the moon in upcoming years. In a warm-up to spaceflight further afield (most importantly, to Mars), NASA looks to build a mini-space station in lunar orbit, a versatile base from which to conduct further experiments on human space travel.
“I envision different partners, both international and commercial, contributing to the gateway and using it in a variety of ways with a system that can move to different orbits to enable a variety of missions,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The gateway could move to support robotic or partner missions to the surface of the moon, or to a high lunar orbit to support missions departing from the gateway to other destinations in the solar system.”
In Canada, too, the new Liberal budget last month included $80.9 million in new funding to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) so as to “underscore Canada’s commitment to innovation and leadership in space.” According to the National Post portion of that money is said to be earmarked for Canada’s contribution to a “deep space habitat” orbiting the moon.