The largest full moon of the year, otherwise known as a super moon, will rise tonight, April 7. And while we may not be able to enjoy it at the beach or a public park like we normally do, the moon's bright rays will still be shining through every window. So if you're feeling disconnected due to sheltering in place, this might be the perfect opportunity to call a friend, take a look at the moon together, and remember that we are all connected in some way.
"Tonight will be the peak of one of four super moons we will have this year," says Bishop Planetarium manager Howard Hochhalter. "A super moon simply means the moon is at its closest point to the earth in its 28-day orbit." This moon is only marginally bigger in size, Hochhalter adds, but most people will notice how much brighter it is.
Tonight's moon is also a "pink" moon, signifying the beginning of spring.
"The name has to do with flowers blooming," explains Hochhalter. It is not named after the moon's hue, but after a type of pink-flowered moss that grows on east coast of the United States. The pink moon serves as a signpost signifying the passage of time and means spring is right around the corner.
"Spring is also associated with rebirth and renewal," Hochhalter says. "Many cultures look at springtime full moons and make a connection to new life."
According to NASA, a full moon can also have religious significance. This super moon will be the Pesach, or Passover Moon, for the Jewish population, and the Paschal moon for Christians, which helps determine the date for Easter.
Hochhalter says the best way to enjoy the super moon is not through a telescope, but by looking at the light and shadows it casts. "You will notice how exceptionally bright it makes the terrain around you," says Hochhalter. "It can really be an uplifting sight, and something to get excited about."