The pink moon showed up in all its glory Friday night ... with a catch.
It was quite the stunning sight this past Friday night: a moon in a brilliant pink hue.
Or, not exactly. The full moon might have been called a pink moon, but it probably just looked as ordinary as ever to most everyone. And the pink moon is not even an unusual event, unlike the blood moon which actually does turn the moon into an interesting color. So why is everyone buzzing about it lately?
It’s more about what happens here on Earth. Native Americans were the first to celebrate this yearly event, when the pink phlox, one of the first flowers of spring, blooms under the full moon. The Native American tribes named the full moon the “pink moon” as a way of noting this seasonal change — after all, they didn’t have a calendar like Europeans did, and were able to tell the seasons by different events like this one. And so, like many things the Native Americans did, the incoming Europeans adopted these names as well, and so we have the pink moon.
So the moon is just a regular color, although it does look particularly small this time of year as the moon and Earth are at their farthest distance from each other, also called the apogee.
The phlox is found mostly in North America, although one species can be found in Siberia. It likes a diverse range of habitats, from alpine tundra to prairies. Groundhogs, deer, and rabbits like to munch on them for food.
“There is a special lunar name for every full moon in a year,” NASA said in a 2010 statement. “The April 28 full moon is known as the ‘Full Pink Moon’ because of the grass pink – or wild ground phlox – flower, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers to bloom in the spring. This month’s full moon is also known as the Sprouting Grass moon and the Egg moon.
“Some coastal American Indian tribes have also referred to it as the Full Fish moon, since it marks a time when shad swim upstream to spawn,” it continues. “Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. Those tribes of a few hundred years ago kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.”