Will There be a Pink Moon in April?

I've seen a number of posts promising a pink full Moon on 4th April 2015. This is one of those recurring internet shares that crops up around this time of year, every year, but is there any truth in it?

Yes! And no.

The post in question is usually accompanied by a nice picture of a big full Moon that looks like it has been coloured in by a toddler let loose with a highlighter pen. This is misleading, to say the least: There is such a think as a Pink Moon but, much like the case with a Blue Moon, it won't actually look pink. The first full Moon in April is known as a Pink Moon, particularly in Western cultures. In other cultures it is sometimes known as the Fish Moon, the Sprouting Grass Moon, and the Egg Moon.

So why is it called a Pink Moon?

I think the Sprouting Grass Moon gives the biggest clue: it's the first Full Moon of spring! Why "pink", then? It's named for one of the earliest (widespread) native* spring flowers to pop up. The plant is phlox subulata, known by various popular names including moss pink.

Apparently, and completely off-topic, the plant's odour can be mistaken for that of marijuana, which is a fact that occasionally causes tussles between gardeners and the law.

*To central USA, where the name is most popular and probably originated.


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