The first full moon of spring will rise in the night sky this week.
Although it won’t be officially full until 12:34 a.m. EDT Thursday, April 6, it will still appear plenty full when it rises above the eastern horizon on Wednesday evening, April 5.
It will also appear quite full when it rises Thursday evening.
Alas, barring some unforeseen atmospheric phenomena, the moon won’t appear pink to our eyes. Instead, the moon should be “its usual golden color near the horizon and fade to a bright white as it glides overhead,” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Here’s what to know about April’s full moon:
Why is it called the pink moon?
For millennia, people across the world, including Native Americans, named the months after nature’s cues. Each full moon has its own name.
According to NASA, the Maine Farmers’ Almanac began publishing Native American names for full moons in the 1930s and these names are now widely known and used.
When is the next full moon? Here’s the full list of 2023 full moons
According to this almanac, the full moon in April is known as the “pink” moon, named after the herb moss pink, also known as creeping phlox, moss phlox or mountain phlox. This is a plant native to the eastern USA that is one of the earliest widespread flowers of spring.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac concurs with NASA, saying that “April’s full moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of a certain pink wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulata – commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox – which also went by the name ‘moss pink.'”
Creeping ground phlox thrives in sandy or rocky soils, and is often used as a ground cover, the Farmer’s Almanac said.
NASA said other names for this moon include the sprouting grass moon, the egg moon, and among coastal tribes of North America, the fish moon, because this was when the shad swam upstream to spawn.
Full moon determines the date of Easter
It’s also known as the Paschal full moon (the first full moon of spring, which began with the equinox on March 20), the Old Farmer’s Almanac said. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which means that this coming Sunday, April 9, is Easter.
More about the moon