Jul 18, 2019 | Updated: 10:03 AM EDT

April’s Pink Moon Will Be in the Sky Tonight, But Why Is It Called “Pink”?

Apr 19, 2019 10:48 AM EDT

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If astronomy and gazing at the moon and stars is your hobby, then you already know that tonight, April 19, 2019 the "Pink Moon" will be bright in the sky. But are you aware why its called the Pink Moon? As most may be aware, the pink moon isn't really pink, as the blood moon isn't always a shade of red and the blue moon is not blue. In a time before watches and calendars, the Native Americans would name each month's full moon. It helped them to keep track of their planting and harvesting schedule.

April's full moon was dubbed the Pink Moon as it signaled the first appearance of the wild ground phlox. Now when there are two full moons in one calendar month, that is referred to as a blue moon. Hence the saying, "once in a blue moon," as it is on rare occasion. One of the other more popular full moons is known as the "Harvest Moon" which is the full moon of October. It is also known as the "Hunter's Moon" or the "Blood Moon". This full moon told the Native American that winter was coming and that it was time to hunt or harvest in preparation for the cold months.

Another note to made is that the only time we may see the moon in a different color would be when a haze, dust, ash or smoke could potentially make the moon appear red. Let's look at some of the other nicknames for each month's full moon.

January's full moon is referred to as the Wolf's Moon as wolves tended to howl more at this particular time of year.

February's full moon or the Snow Moon is just that, as February was the time of the most snowfall.

The full moon in March was nicknamed Worm Moon because the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This has also been called the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.

April's full moon of course is the Pink Moon as already explained.

May's full moon is fittingly called the Flower Moon as May is the time for new flowers to signal summer.

The full moon of June is called the Strawberry Moon. In the Colonial areas, this was a time to gather ripening strawberries. It has also been called the Rose Moon and the Hot Moon.

July would bring forth the Buck Moon, at this time, a buck's antlers are in full growth mode. This full Moon has also been called the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

August's full Moon was commonly called the Sturgeon Moon, because he sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon. This has also been called the Green Corn Moon.

The full Moon of September is the Corn Moon as this full Moon corresponds with the time of harvesting corn.

October, as we know, brought forth the Harvest Moon.

November's Moon signaled the time for colonials and local tribes to set beaver traps, thus this full Moon was called Beaver Moon.

And lastly the full Moon of December which was appropriately dubbed the Cold Moon as this is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This full Moon has also been called the Long Nights Moon.

This is certainly a list that can be debated, discussed or even argued as the Native American tribes differed very much. But for all intents and purposes, this list can in fact reflect the history of the Moon's nicknames, that were so carefully given by the Native Americans.

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