When is the April Full Moon? Pink Supermoon to Be Biggest and Brightest of 2020

The pink supermoon on April 7 will not only be the first full moon of spring, but also the biggest and brightest of the year.

The reason for this is the moon's uneven orbit, which is more elliptical or oval shaped than it is circular. Every orbit takes 27.3 days to complete and includes a perigee, which is the point of closest approach, and an apogee, the point it is furthest away.

"What is commonly called a supermoon happens when the moon comes closest to us, at perigee, and is either at a full moon or new moon phase," Tania de Sales Marques, an astronomer with the Royal Observatory, U.K., told Newsweek. "So a full moon is also a supermoon when the full phase coincides with perigee.

"A full moon coinciding with perigee is an annual event, but since a supermoon is not so strictly defined, the threshold for what's considered a supermoon may vary to also include full moons that come close to perigee. This more relaxed definition can give us more than one supermoon per year."

According to Royal Museums Greenwich, supermoons appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than a full moon at the its furthest point, the apogee. However, they are only slightly larger than a regular full moon, said de Sales Marques. So the difference may not be noticeable to the vast majority of observers.

"A full moon at perigee is just 7 percent larger than a regular full moon, so the difference in size is not discernible, however it does appear slightly brighter than usual," said de Sales Marques.

April's supermoon is the second of three to take place in in a row, following from March's super worm moon and preceding May's super flower moon, due to take place on May 7. Thanks to its positioning, April's will be the biggest and brightest of the trio. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the Earth's satellite will approach 221,800 miles from us.

The best time to observe the supermoon is at 10:35 p.m. EDT when it will reach the full moon phase. To make the most of the viewing, de Sales Marques recommends waiting until the sun has set and finding an unobstructed view.

"The best thing to do is to wait until after the sun has set and the sky is dark, find an unobstructed view of the sky, and weather permitting you should get to see a slightly brighter than usual full moon," said de Sales Marques.

"And if you're thinking of taking a picture to mark the occasion, just be aware that you'll need proper equipment, such as a camera with a long telephoto lens, as the moon captured on a phone will look more like a blob."

Stock image of supermoon
Stock image of a supermoon and jet. April's supermoon is the biggest and brightest of 2020. Vito Palmisano/iStock

The month's moon is noteworthy in another way—it is also the Paschal full moon, meaning it is the first full moon since the Spring Equinox on Friday, 20 March 2020.

Paschal is the Greek word for "Passover." The Paschal full moon takes place on the 14th day of the lunar month starting after the Spring Equinox, and is used to work out when Easter falls in any given year. It is not necessarily a full moon, though it often is.

Despite its name, the moon will not appear pink. According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the pink moon is so-called because of Phlox subulata—also known as creeping or moss phlox—a type of wildflower found in eastern parts of North America. The fuschia coloring of the plant, which blooms in springtime, gives the April full moon its name. It may also be called the egg moon or the grass moon.