Moon Phases

Full moon falls on April 16

Full moon as large round circle with dot on right labeled Spica, and steep line of ecliptic.
The full moon – called the Pink Moon by us in the Northern Hemisphere – rises in the east at sunset on April 16. For observers in the Northern Hemisphere, it glows to the lower left of Spica. Chart via John Jardine Goss. See a chart for the Southern Hemisphere below.

April full moon

When to watch in 2022: Nights of April 15 and 16.
Where to look: Look for the bright round moon in the east in the evening, overhead around midnight, west before sunrise.
Crest of the full moon falls at 18:55 UTC on April 16, 2022. That’s 1:55 p.m. CDT in central North America.
Note: The April 15 and 16 moon is near the star Spica in the constellation Virgo.

All full moons rise in the east at sunset and set in the west at sunrise. They are visible all night. At full moon, the sun, Earth and moon are aligned in space, with the Earth in the middle. The moon’s day side – its fully lighted hemisphere – faces us. That’s why the moon looks full. Note that the moon will look full and round for a day or two around full moon. So starting on April 15 the moon will look full for several days and will rise about an hour later each day.

April’s full moon is the Pink Moon

This is such a beautiful time of year, especially when the full moon rises! April’s full moon has the nickname of the full Pink Moon because of all the blooming flowers and trees, in particular the pink creeping phlox (Phlox subulata). The moment of full moon – when it reaches that point in its orbit directly opposite the sun in sky – is April 16 at 18:55 UTC or 1:55 p.m. CDT. However, “full moon” is considered any time 12 hours before or after that.

Read: Full moon names by month and by season

The full moon of April is also called the Paschal Moon if it occurs before Easter, which happens this year. As a general rule, Easter is pinned on the first Sunday after the full moon that occurs after the vernal equinox. This year the equinox fell on March 20, and the following full moon falls on April 16, which is a Saturday. Therefore, the next Sunday is the very next day, making Easter April 17.

Southern Hemisphere view

For Northern Hemisphere moon watchers, the rising Pink Moon glows brightly to the left of Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo.

For Southern Hemisphere viewers, Spica lies above the moon as it rises.

Full moon as large round circle with dot above labeled Spica with slanted line of ecliptic.
The full “Pink Moon” rises at sunset on April 16. For observers in the Southern Hemisphere, it glows below Spica. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

Spotting Spica

Because the full moon is very bright, you might not spot Spica at first. Try blocking the moon behind a foreground object such as a building. Spica is an important star for learning the night sky because it’s the southern member of the easily recognizable Spring Triangle. This asterism also includes Arcturus, north of Spica, and Denebola, northwest of Spica. Those three stars form an attractive equilateral triangle.

As the American night of April 16 advances, the Pink Moon moves away from Spica and nears Virgo’s boundary with Libra, the next zodiacal constellation to the east. Since the full moon sits on the opposite side of the sky from the sun, when morning twilight begins in the east, the full moon nears the western horizon. It then lies noticeably further from Spica than it did when it rose nearly 12 hours earlier.

Chart showing the moon's path around Earth and arrow to its location near constellation Virgo.
The full “Pink Moon” lies near Spica in Virgo, on the opposite side of Earth as the sun. Chart via John Jardine Goss.

Bottom line: At full moon, the moon rises around sunset, climbs highest in the sky around midnight, and sets around sunrise. The April 2022 full moon on April 16 is the Pink Moon. It lies near the star Spica in the constellation Virgo.

Posted 
April 16, 2022
 in 
Moon Phases

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