If there was ever a night to go outside and howl at the moon, this is it.
Even if it’s not your style to clap with your neighbors in an orchestrated (but arguably hollow) show of goodwill, or sing from your balcony like seemingly every Italian on Instagram, you might feel moved tonight to step out of your normal bounds of behavior to appreciate the largest and closest full moon of the year.
With clear skies forecast in Western Washington and a stay-home order making us all a little stir crazy, the stage is set for Tuesday and Wednesday night’s Super Pink Moon to elicit an uninhibited, primal release of joy, hope, frustration or plain spring fever.
I mean, go for it! Who cares if people think you’re weird at this point? You’ve already stopped grooming, right? You’re wearing the same pajamas. Are you really so different from these majestic creatures?
The moon will rise in the east and be at its fullest around 7:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Tuesday, about 18 minutes before the sun sets. The moon will be at its highest point around midnight.
April’s full moon, which is sometimes known in North America as a Pink Moon, Egg Moon or Grass Moon, will appear nearly 100% full on Wednesday night and 97% full on Thursday night, according to astronomy news site EarthSky, so you’re in luck if you miss the lunar show on Tuesday — or if you have a multiday howl pent up inside you.
This will be our largest-appearing moon of 2020 because the full moon aligns most closely with the lunar perigee — when the moon is closest to Earth in its monthly orbit.
This phenomenon, when our natural satellite appears about 7% bigger than the average full moon, is called a super moon. And while most people won’t be able to detect that slight increase in apparent diameter, according to EarthSky writer Bruce McClure, some avid moon gazers could notice that it seems much brighter than usual. Super moons can be up to 15% brighter than typical full moons, and up to 30% brighter than full moons that are farther away.
The Puget Sound region’s pervasive cloud cover won’t be around to spoil the sky-watching fun, said Dustin Guy of the National Weather Service in Seattle.
“Once it clears out, it will pretty much stay clear through Wednesday into Thursday, and Thursday night into Friday,” he said. Temperatures are expected to slowly rise through the week, with a forecast high of 63 degrees in Seattle on Thursday.
Even if you don’t have a balcony to sing from, you might find yourself humming the classic Nick Drake tune all week: “A pink moon is on its way …”