April's Rare Pink Supermoon Will Be The Best Of 2020
A supermoon is just around the corner, and while the current COVID-19 crisis means you won't be able to go far to see it, there is a good chance you could be lucky enough to spot it from home.
According to the Sydney Observatory, this will be "the best supermoon of the year" because the moon will be closer to earth than any other full moon in 2020, so if you have a backyard or a balcony you might want to set your clocks bright and early.
April's full moon is sometimes called a pink moon, but that doesn't mean it will appear that colour when you look up at the sky.
Pink moon is simply a nickname from folklore -- it is a reference to the pink flowers that appear during April in parts of the U.S.
A supermoon, according to NASA, occurs when the moon's orbit is closest to Earth at the same time it is full or new moon -- making it appear brighter and larger than a regular full moon.
The closest point of a moon is called the perigee -- which is usually a distance of 363,300 kilometres away from earth.
Senior Systems Scientist at the Australia Telescope Compact Array Dr Jamie Stevens explained a supermoon occurs when it comes within 90 per cent of the minimum distance it can possibly get to earth.
"Ninety per cent turns out to be anything closer than 361,000 kilometres away and the one on April 8 is 357,000 kilometres away," Stevens said.
"So that's really quite close."
According to Sydney Observatory, this will occur in Australia on Wednesday, April 8 at 4:09 am AEST.
"This is its closest perigee for the year -- so this is the best supermoon for the year," Dr Andrew Jacob, Sydney Observatory’s Curator of Astronomy said on the observatory's website.
"Just a few hours later, at 12.35 pm the Moon is full (and now 357,030km away)," Jacob explained.
"Later on the same day, for Australia, when the Moon rises (at 6.06 pm for Sydney) it may look spectacular."
Stevens said while to the naked eye the moon won't look any different in size, it will be much brighter.
"Compared to a normal full moon it will be about 15 per cent brighter," he said.
"Shadows might be a bit sharper on the ground and you might be able to get easier visibility, but if you looked up at the moon you wouldn't be able to say it's definitely larger.
Nevertheless, bar any cloudy weather, Australians should be able to see the supermoon from their backyards or balconies.
If you do miss it though, don't worry, Stevens said there are six supermoons this year alone.
"Three of them when they are full moons and three of them happen when they are new moons," he said.
"So they are relatively often, considering we are only going to get 13 full moons this year and three of them are supermoons."