The Washington Post

Full pink moon tonight and an eclipse half way around the world

The post sunset sky imparts an orange-pink glow on the not yet full moon Monday night above the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial. Click to enlarge. ( Navin Sarma) The post sunset sky imparts an orange-pink glow on the not yet full moon Monday night above the Navy-Merchant Marine Memorial. Click to enlarge. ( Navin Sarma)

A glorious full moon rises this evening at 8:05 p.m. EDT. It has earned the colorful name “Pink Moon,” but not for its appearance.

“This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring,” writes the Farmers’ Almanac.

Nevertheless, perhaps the moon will take on a pink glow if you catch it in the post-sunset sky (sunset is at 7:55 p.m. in Washington, D.C.)

The moon will be 99.4 percent full when it emerges above the eastern horizon. It’s technically 100 percent “full” at 3:58 p.m. EDT today according to TimeandDate.com, a time at which it’s invisible to skywatchers in the U.S.

“Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and among coastal tribes the Full Fish Moon, because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn,” says the Farmers’ Almanac.

Partial eclipse

In the eastern hemisphere, a tiny piece of the moon will go into hiding as the Earth casts a shadow over it beginning at 3:54 p.m. EDT (19:54 UTC) and ending at 4:21 p.m. EDT (20:21 UTC)

EarthSky explains:

….tonight’s eclipse is an extremely shallow partial lunar eclipse, with only the northernmost portion of the moon passing through the Earth’s dark shadow for about 27 minutes. At the greatest eclipse, the Earth’s dark shadow will cover less than 1.5% of the moon’s diameter.

It is to be the third shortest partial lunar eclipse this century, EarthSky adds.

While North America misses out on this eclipse, most of Europe, central Asia, and Africa will have viewing opportunities for parts, if not all, of the spectacle.

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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