Innovation Science Technology

When, Where And How You Can See The ‘Super Pink Moon’ Rise This Week, 2021’s Best Supermoon So Far

Are you ready for a “Super Pink Moon?” After a near-identical event last year, early next week sees the rise of the second successive “Super Pink Moon”—the combination of a full Moon and a “supermoon.”  

Moonrise on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 is going to be a bigger event than average in more ways than one. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the “Super Pink Moon,” including how, when and where to see it at its best. 

What is a supermoon?

A “supermoon” occurs when our Moon moves closest to the Earth in its elliptical orbit while in its “full” phase. It thus looks slightly larger and brighter than usual.

The “Super Pink Moon” will be 222,211 miles/357,615 kilometers from Earth on April 26, 2021, which isn’t quite as close as the next full Moon—the “Super Flower Moon Eclipse”—which will be the biggest and best “supermoon” of 2021. But it can still be called a “supermoon” because it occurs within 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.

The phenomenon is known to astronomers not as a “supermoon,” but as a perigee-syzygy Moon.

Perigee means the closest point the Moon comes to Earth in its monthly orbit, while syzygy means a line-up of three or more celestial bodies—in this case the Sun, Earth and Moon. 

Will the ‘Super Pink Moon’ look bigger than usual? 

Yes—about 6% larger than the average full Moon, and 14% bigger than some full Moons. As a consequence it will also seems up to 30% brighter than the average full Moon. 

The Moon’s elliptical orbit

The Moon varies in size because the Moon’s orbit around Earth is egg-shaped, so at one point it’s closest and at another it’s furthest away. However, only occasionally does that closest point—the Moon’s perigee—sync with the Moon’s full phase. 

The ‘Moon illusion’ explained

If you watch it as it rises there’s also the “Moon illusion” to consider; since the full Moon is on the horizon, your brain will see it in context and compare it with its surroundings. That can make the rising full Moon seem huge. 

How many supermoons are there in 2021?

Four, with the “Super Pink Moon” being the second. When is the next supermoon? That happens next month with the rise of the “Super Flower Moon,” which will be the biggest and best supermoon of 2021.

However, it will also be a lunar eclipse—more on that below …  

When is the full ‘Super Pink Moon?’

Although it’s a global event, the time of the full Moon depends on where you are in the world. The Moon will be full at 03:31 Universal Time on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, which translates to the previous evening in North America.

However, seeing the full Moon when it peaks at 100% illumination is missing the point. You need to see it as it appears on the eastern horizon … as this photo, below, shows:

When to see the full ‘Super Pink Moon’

For this full Moon more than any other full Moon so far in 2021 you need to stand somewhere with a clear view of the eastern horizon around dusk so you can watch the “Super Pink Moon” rising as a delicate orangey orb. 

From both North America and Europe the best view is going to be at moonrise on Tuesday, April 27, 2021. It’s going to become visible about 45 minutes to an hour after sunset, so in a fairly dark sky (the night before it takes place in a too-bright sky, which is why the views on Tuesday will be better). 

Check the moonrise and moonset times for your location, but here are a few sample times for Tuesday, April 27, 2021: 

  • London: Sunset at 20:16, Moonrise at 21:01
  • New York City: Sunset at 19:47, Moonrise at 20:45
  • Los Angeles: Sunset at 19:33, Moonrise at 20:38

When is the next full Moon? 

The next full Moon is the full “Super Flower Moon Eclipse,” which will occur on Wednesday, May 26, 2021.

It’s set to be an even bigger-looking full Moon than the “Super Pink Moon,” though the closest supermoon of the 21st century will occur on December 6, 2052. 

Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.