Pink full moon, Lyrid meteor shower peak: What to expect this week

It’s time to welcome spring’s colorful moon.

April’s full moon, called the Pink Moon, will be visible starting Monday (April 22) through Wednesday (April 24). According to NASA, it will peak Tuesday at 7:49 p.m. ET (6:49 p.m. CT). It will appear completely full for about three days around this time, from Monday morning to Thursday morning. The full moon will coincide with the Lyrid meteor shower that peaks in the late evening of April 21 until dawn on April 22.

Pink Moon

This month’s full moon won’t actually be pink. Instead, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, the name comes from tribes in the northeastern U.S. in reference to the herb moss pink, also known as creeping phlox, moss phlox or mountain phlox, one of the earliest widespread flowers of spring. Other names for the moon include the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Fish Moon, as this was when the shad swam upstream to spawn.

This is also the Pesach or Passover Moon. In the Hebrew calendar, this full moon is in the middle of Nisan, with Pesach or Passover beginning on the 15th day of Nisan. Pesach or Passover begins at sundown on Monday, April 22, and ends at nightfall on April 30, 2024. The Seder feasts are on the first two evenings of Passover.

Lyrid Meteor Shower

Lyrids is one of the world’s oldest-known meteor showers, having been observed for 2,700 years. The first recorded sighting of the Lyrids goes back to 687 BC when the fireballs were documented by the Chinese.

According to NASA, the Lyrids are known for their fast and bright meteors and though they aren’t as speedy or plentiful as the famous Perseids in August, they are capable of as many as 100 meteors per hour. In general, however, you can expect between 10-20 meteors per hour during the shower’s peak, though the full moon could interfere with the viewing.

Lyrids originate from pieces of space debris from the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher, first discovered in 1861. Meteors are produced by leftover comet particles and bits from broken asteroids. When comets come around the sun, they leave a dusty trail behind them and, every year, the Earth passes through the debris, which allows the bits to collide with the atmosphere where they disintegrate to create fiery and colorful streaks in the sky.

How to view

Lyrids are best viewed in the Northern Hemisphere during the dark hours – after the moon has set and before dawn. You should find an area well away from city lights or street lights and be prepared with a sleeping bag, blanket or lawn chair. Lie flat on your back with your feet facing east and look up, taking in as much of the sky as possible. After about 30 minutes in the dark, your eyes will adapt and you will begin to see meteors.

Be patient – the show will last until dawn, so you have plenty of time to catch a glimpse, NASA said.

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