The full moon (opens in new tab) on Tuesday night (April 7) was the biggest "supermoon" of the year (opens in new tab) and skywatchers, at least those with clear skies to see it, are thrilled.
Dubbed the "Super Pink Moon (opens in new tab)," this full moon appeared larger and brighter than usual because the moon was at perigee, or the closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. With this ultra-close event, the moon was just 221,772 miles (356,907 kilometers) from Earth, compared to its average distance of 238,855 miles (384,400 km). The moon (while not actually pink (opens in new tab)) was at its absolute closest at 2:08 p.m. EDT (1808 GMT), about 8.5 hours before it became officially full, at 10:35 p.m. EDT (0235 GMT on April 8).
This closer proximity of the supermoon (opens in new tab) makes it appear about 7% larger and 15% brighter than the average full moon, giving skywatchers an opportunity to admire the moon's face in all its lunar glory.
Related: Supermoon secrets: 7 surprising big moon facts (opens in new tab)
More: Activities and resources for homebound kids: A coronavirus guide (opens in new tab)
Have an amazing supermoon video or photo you'd like to share? You can submit images and comments in to email@example.com!
In this image taken by photographer Bill Funcheon, the brightness and closeness of the moon make the structures on its surface stand out. Even with the naked eye, you can easily spot craters and basins during a supermoon. However, because full moons are so bright, moon filters are recommended for anyone trying to photograph the moon through a telescope.
Related: How to observe the moon (infographic) (opens in new tab)
The moon looks even larger during moonrise and moonset, when it's close to the horizon, because of an optical illusion (opens in new tab). But its angular diameter, or apparent size, is not actually bigger. Rather, we see this illusion because objects on the horizon, like buildings and trees, create a sense of scale that is missing when the moon is high in the sky. Still, because of this illusion, photographers captured the moon looking anywhere from slightly bigger to absolutely gigantic peeking out over the horizon.
Additionally, while the size of the moon may look different depending on where it is in the sky, the moon can also look different colors (even though it doesn't change color).
You can see the moon appearing as if it's different colors in some of these photos, like this photo of the Super Pink Moon taken by photographer Stojan Stojanovski. The image shows a yellowish moon over Samuel's Fortress in Ohrid, North Macedonia.
However, the moon itself does not change color. It only appears to be different colors when it is obscured by atmosphere (or during an eclipse). This also means that, as you can probably tell, the moon doesn't turn pink (opens in new tab) for the "Super Pink Moon." That name actually comes from a pink wildflower that blooms in the early spring in North America.
On Tuesday night, people from all over the world got a front-row seat to this incredible Super Pink Moon. Skywatchers from every corner of the globe, weather permitting, enjoyed a special and unique astronomical moment.
This image from photographer Sérgio Conceição shows what the pink supermoon looked like from Elvas, a Portuguese municipality. In the image, Conceição pointed out that you can see both Elvas and Badajoz, a city in Spain, in the photo.
This striking photo taken by photographer Chris Crowe, who is also the head of astronomy at Harrow School in the UK, took this stunning photo of theSuper Pink Moon from the Rayleigh Observatory in London.
With the extra-close, extra-bright moon and some astrophotography techniques, Crowe was able to capture an image that shows the moon's curves, lumps and bumps in sharp detail.
Editor's note: If you have an amazing supermoon photo you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, you can send images and comments in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How the 'supermoon' looks (infographic)
- How to observe the moon with a telescope
- Supermoon and pink sky: Full moon rises against 'Belt of Venus'
Follow Chelsea Gohd on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
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