Stargazers are in for a treat as a pink supermoon is set to brighten the night skies over the UK this week.
The full moon in April is also known as the “pink moon” as it is named after pink flowers, known as phlox, which bloom in the springtime.
But despite its name, there will not be any noticeable difference in colour.
The celestial event, the first supermoon of 2021, is expected to take place just before sunset on April 27 as the moon rises in the east and will be visible until it sets in the west the next morning.
It is also a supermoon because the full moon will occur when it is near its closest point to the Earth in its orbit.
Will you be looking out for it? Let us know if you spot it in the comments section below!
What is a supermoon?
Supermoons occur because the distance between the moon and the Earth changes over time.
The moon’s orbit around the Earth isn’t perfectly circular, it is shaped like an ellipse.
When the moon is closest to the Earth on the same night as a full moon, it is known as a supermoon.
Anna Ross, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, told the PA news agency: “A supermoon is the result of a full moon occurring when the moon is near its closest point to the Earth in its orbit.
“This can happen because the moon orbits the Earth on an elliptical path, rather than a circular one.
“As this means that the moon is a little closer to us, it appears slightly bigger in the sky.”
When is the best time to see it?
Ms Ross said: “The average distance of the moon from the Earth is 384,400km, but the moon will reach its closest point this lunar month on April 27 at 16:24, when it will be 357,379 km away.
“The exact moment of the full moon closest to this point – so the supermoon – is also on April 27, but at 04:31.
“This means that the best times to view this supermoon will be anytime during the night of April 27 – when the moon will rise in the east just before sunset and set in the west around sunrise.”
During this time, the Earth’s natural satellite will still appear around 14% bigger and 30% brighter.
When is the next supermoon if I miss this one?
The next supermoon will be visible in May 2021.
What effect does a supermoon have?
Because the moon is nearer the Earth, its gravitational pull is stronger and this makes the tides higher, Birmingham Live explains.
Some have suggested the gravitational pull of a supermoon is an extra 20-30 per cent – or even as much as 50 per cent higher.
It means higher tides and bigger waves.
The tide will be around two inches higher than normal – and although that doesn’t sound like much, meteorologists say higher tides combined with high winds could lead to coastal flooding or produce more intense storms.
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The supermoon also causes a slight increase in seismic activity by exerting a greater gravitational pull on the molten rock beneath the surface of the Earth.
This makes the ground rise and fall just like the tides in the ocean and that could put extra strain on fault lines, triggering an earthquake.
So supermoons have been blamed for causing natural disasters.
What does NASA say?
According to NASA, the moon being at its closest during its fullest phase should not affect the Earth in any extreme way because we already have two tides a day.