Full Moon April 2022: Pink Moon To Appear as Mercury Rises, NASA Says

This Saturday, a full "Pink" moon will grace the skies as Mercury rises in what will be an Easter treat for stargazers.

Full moons are a lunar phase that occur roughly once every month when our natural satellite is located opposite to the sun, with the Earth in between.

During a full moon, the side of the moon that faces towards our planet is fully illuminated, appearing like a perfect circle.

Technically, the moon only turns full for a moment. On Saturday, April 16, this moment will occur at 2:55 p.m. EDT, according to the Farmers' Almanac.

But it will appear full to most observers for around three days centered on this time, from early Friday morning through early Monday morning.

For observers in North America, the moon won't be visible above horizon until after sunset on April 16.

A full Pink Moon
The moon rises above the Statue of Liberty in New York City on April 27, 2021 as seen from Jersey City, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

On this night, the bright planet Mercury will also appear around two degrees above the west-northwestern horizon, according to a NASA Science blog.

Pink moon meaning

In North America, perhaps the most well-known traditional name for a full moon that falls in April is "Pink Moon." While it may appear that the name has something to do with the color of our natural satellite, this is not the case.

The names given to the full moons originate from a number of places and historical periods, including Native American, colonial American and European sources.

The term "pink moon" likely derives from the pink flowers of the creeping phlox or moss phlox (known by its scientific name Phlox subulata)—a plant native to eastern North America—which often blooms around this time of year, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.

Among the many other traditional names for the April full moon is the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, which refers to the fact that new grass appears at this time. Some coastal tribes also traditionally referred to the April full moon as the Full Fish Moon—because this was the time of year that salmon swam upstream to spawn.

This year, the April full moon is also the Paschal Full Moon—the first full moon to occur after the Northern Hemisphere's spring equinox, which took place on March 20. Depending on the year, the Paschal Full Moon can occur in either March or April.

The term "spring equinox" refers to the moment when the sun crosses the celestial equator—an imaginary line in the sky above the Earth's equator—from south to north. It marks the beginning of astronomical spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

For Christians, Paschal Full Moon is important because it is used to determine the date of Easter, which always takes place on the first Sunday after it appears.