Pink supermoon lights up the dawn skies

Nilima Marshall

Skygazers were treated to a glimpse of a “pink supermoon” as the celestial event lit up the dawn skies.

But those who missed the rare event will still be able to see the Earth’s natural satellite on Tuesday evening as it appears bigger and brighter than usual.

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.

It is also a supermoon because the full moon will occur when it is near its closest point to the Earth in its orbit.

The moon before becoming a supermoon
A full moon on Monday evening (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The phenomenon was visible at dawn on April 27 and will also be seen just before sunset, as the moon rises in the east and will be visible until it sets in the west the next morning.

Anna Ross, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, told the PA news agency: “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.”

Supermoon
(PA Graphics)

During this time, the Earth’s natural satellite will still appear around 14% bigger and 30% brighter.

Ms Ross said: “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.”

The next supermoon will be visible in May 2021.