The second of this year’s four Supermoons will arrive tonight and astronomy enthusiasts are in for a treat. Supermoons can appear bigger and brighter than a regular Full Moon, and the upcoming Pink Moon is no exception. And though in purely astronomical terms the Full Moon will not peak until 4.31am BST tomorrow (April 27), the Moon is guaranteed to dazzle you regardless.
How to watch the Pink Moon Supermoon live online tonight:
Courtesy of the Virtual Telescope Project in Italy, you can track the Moon’s movements across the sky without having to leave home tonight.
If poor weather threatens to spoil the view or you would simply like to stay indoors, just tune into the embedded video player above.
The Virtual Telescope’s broadcast will kick off at 6.15pm BST (5.15pm UTC) or about one-and-a-half hours before moonrise over London.
The stream will follow the Supermoon as it charts a path over the picturesque skyline of Rome.
What's the origin behind April's full PINK moon?
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Dr Gianluca Masi, astrophysicist and head of the Virtual Telescope, said: “Looking at the full Moon rising is always a stunning experience.
“When it is closer than usual to the Earth (something described by the very popular term ‘Supermoon’), it is even more fascinating.
“And what if you admire all this from Rome, while our satellite climbs the heaven above the legendary skyline of Rome?
“The Virtual Telescope Project will bring to you the show of this Supermoon while it shines through the monuments of the Eternal City.”
What is a Supermoon?
As the Moon races around our planet, its orbit is elliptical and not perfectly circular.
As a result of the irregular orbit, the Moon is closer or farther from us every single night.
The highest point in the orbit is known as the apogee and the lowest is called the perigee.
If a Full Moon happens to fall near to or at the point of perigee – a so-called Perigee Moon – we witness a slightly bigger and brighter Supermoon.
If the same happens near apogee, astronomers expect the Moon to be slightly smaller and slightly dimmer – a Micromoon.
For the most part, however, the differences in size will be too subtle for the naked eye to discern.
What is the meaning behind the Pink Moon’s name?
Despite its seemingly deceptive name, the Pink Moon will not be turning a pink colour tonight.
Instead, the name is believed to derive from the time-keeping traditions of Native Americans.
Various tribes would name the Full Moon phases after seasonal shifts in the landscape.
Astronomers behind the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London explained: “Many of the Moon’s nicknames in popular use today have come to us from Native American cultures.
“April’s full Moon was traditionally known as the ‘Pink Moon’ in northern Native American culture, named after a species of early wildflower common to the area.”
Other unusual names include the Beaver Moon, the Sturgeon Moon and the Strawberry Moon.
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