These are times when everyone’s thoughts are cluttered around the COVID pandemic. The number of cases rising alarmingly, frequent buzzing sounds of the ambulances, lack of adequate infrastructure for health care and people started thinking whether we ever get back to what used to be a normal life. Nothing else seems to be of interest to people or even the media. Humankind’s one of the most outstanding achievements (arguably), the first every helicopter flying on Mars by NASA’s ingenuity, did not receive the attention it deserved.
Moon has always fascinated humankind, for mothers inspiring to sing a lullaby when feeding the child, for the aspiring lover reminding the beauty of the sweetheart or its sheer beauty. It is a family member to all; mothers always refer to fondly as Chanda Mama (uncle). Full Moons occur when the moon is on the opposite side of the earth to the sun, resulting in the lunar surface being fully illuminated. A supermoon appears when it is at its closest point to earth and, therefore, at its brightest.
The moon revolves around our earth in an elliptical orbit and completes one round in 29.53 days. During which it passes through the Perigee (The point at which it is the nearest to earth) and Apogee (The point at which the moon is farthest from the earth) each month. The Earth, Moon and sun will be in a straight line. In technical language, it is called perigee-syzygy, which represents the Earth-Moon-Sun system. In 1979, astrologer Richard Noelle coined the term “supermoon” (synonym for perigee-syzygy) and caught the people’s attention the world over. This year, it will be closest when it passes through the local meridian on April 26 (nearer at 356,907 km!) and will be the first super moon of this spring and would be brighter and bigger. The Pink Moon is usually about 7 per cent bigger and 15 per cent more luminous than the regular Full Moon. This change is too small for naked eyes, and the differences are indistinguishable.
But then why are they saying super pink moon? Would it be pink coloured? No. It got its name after the pink colour of early springtime blooms of wildflower, ‘moss pink’ native to eastern North America (Phlox subulata), commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox.
This April’s Super moon, which will be seen at different times in different places, will be seen in India on April 26. This full moon is the second super full moon of 2021 (the first one seen on March 17). Due to the moon coming so close to the earth, the gravitational force of the moon and sun combine would pull the ocean’s water in the same direction. The intensity of high and low tides in the ocean increases during this natural event. This supermoon phenomenon causes about 5 centimeters of variation in the usual spring tides. There are also several religious celebrations that align with this moon. It is the full moon before Easter, Hanuman Jayanti, Bak Poya for Buddhists, and a full moon near the middle of the holy month of Ramadan.
Whether it is pink or not, it is always a joy to watch the moon when it is in full bloom. We have to say we are lucky when we can see a full moon and enjoy its charm because the pollution making it difficult to enjoy it, and more importantly, humankind becoming busy with gadgets and busy capturing for posterity and missing being in the present.
* Featured one of the Toons drawn by Taskeen. This is the second ToonLog on the same topic.