A FULL MOON is the phase of the moon in which its whole disc is illuminated.
During the 29.5-day lunar cycle, we observe a new moon (with 0 per cent illumination), a waxing moon (when the amount of illumination on the moon is increasing), a full moon (100 per cent illumination) and then a waning moon (when its visible surface area is getting smaller).
Because our modern calendar isn’t quite in line with the Moon’s phases, sometimes we get more than one full Moon in a month. This is commonly known as a blue moon.
Meanwhile, a SUPERMOON is when the full moon nearly coincides with perigee – the point in the orbit of the moon at which it is nearest to the Earth.
This means a supermoon can appear as much as 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than when it’s furthest away from Earth.
There are about three or four supermoons per year, most astronomy websites claim, and they happen at different times each year.
In a nutshell, a supermoon is a full moon. But it’s bigger and brighter than a normal full moon.
Lastly, PINK MOON simply refers to the time of the year the full moon is appearing.
This name does not refer to the moon’s colour, but rather is a reference to a wildflower called moss pink (Phlox subulata) which blooms around the same time.
‘Pink’ is the common name for April’s full moon as historically it heralded the appearance of moss pink (Phlox subulata)
Different months of the year have different nicknames – so January is Wolf Moon, February is Snow Moon, March is Worm Moon, April is Pink Moon, May is Flower Moon, June is Strawberry Moon and so on.
Full moon names were historically used to track the seasons and therefore are closely related to nature.
If a supermoon appears in April, it will be referred to as a ‘pink supermoon’.
The full list of full moon nicknames:
January: Wolf Moon because wolves were heard more often at this time.
February: Snow Moon to coincide with heavy snow.
March: Worm Moon as the Sun increasingly warmed the soil and earthworms became active.
April: Pink Moon as it heralded the appearance of Phlox subulata or moss pink – one of spring’s first flowers.
May: Flower Moon because of the abundance of blossoms.
June: Strawberry Moon because it appeared when the strawberry harvest first took place.
July: Buck Moon as it arrived when a male deer’s antlers were in full growth mode.
August: Sturgeon Moon after the large fish that was easily caught at this time.
September: Corn Moon because this was the time to harvest corn.
October: Hunter’s Moon after the time to hunt in preparation for winter.
November: Beaver Moon because it was the time to set up beaver traps.
December: Cold Moon because nights at this time of year were the longest.
Source: Old Farmer’s Almanac