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Full Pink Moon to dazzle the night sky ahead of Easter

A view of the full pink moon, in Lakatamia a suburb of capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Friday, April 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

(NEXSTAR) – The Easter bunny will have the light of a full moon to hop by on Saturday as the Pink Moon rises on April 16.

This month’s full moon goes by many names, according to NASA. Native Americans named it the Pink Moon after the herb moss pink – one of the earliest widespread flowers of spring, found throughout the eastern U.S. Herb moss pink itself goes by several names – creeping phlox, moss phlox and mountain phlox.

Holidaymakers view Moss Phlox flowers in full bloom at Hitsujiyama Park in Chichibu, suburban Tokyo on May 5, 2010. (KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP via Getty Images)

Other names for the moon include nods to its springtime rise: the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.

April’s full moon also has names with religious roots, such as the Pesach or Passover Moon, because Passover begins at sundown the day before, and the Paschal Moon, “from which the date of Easter is calculated,” NASA explains.

“The date of Easter is determined by the moon. Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox,” Kim Mandelkow, director of the Office for Worship with the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, told Nexstar. Saturday’s full moon fits the bill.

Saturday morning, as twilight begins, NASA says four planets will be visible above the east-southeastern horizon: Mars, Venus, Saturn, and Jupiter.

Last year’s Pink Moon was the biggest and brightest of 2021, causing astronomers to dub it a “supermoon.” To reach supermoon status, the moon must be within 90% of perigee, or at one of the closest points to Earth we see.

The next full moon, the Flower Moon, will rise on May 15. Skywatchers will have an extra surprise that day as well – a total lunar eclipse.


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