April full moon – the Pink Moon – falls on April 5-6
April full moon
When to watch in 2023: On the night of April 5 into the morning of April 6.
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 4:34 UTC on April 6, 2023. That’s 11:34 p.m. CDT on April 5 in central North America.
Note: The April 5-6 full moon is near the star Spica in the constellation Virgo the Maiden.
All full moons rise in the east near sunset and set in the west near sunrise. They are visible all night. At full moon, the sun, Earth, and moon align in space, with 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. And note that the moon rises, on average, about 50 minutes later each day. That means, the night after full moon, you won’t see the moon rise until the sky is fully dark.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 Pink Moon, because of all the blooming flowers and trees, such as the pink creeping phlox (Phlox subulata).
The moment of full moon – when the moon reaches that point in its orbit directly opposite the sun in sky – is April 6 at 4:34 UTC or 11:34 p.m. CDT on April 5. However, “full moon” is considered any time 12 hours before or after that.
The full moon of April is also called the Paschal Moon if it occurs before Easter, which happens this year. (If it occurs after Easter, as it will next year, it is only called the Pink Moon.) 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 6, which is a Thursday. Therefore, the next Sunday is three days later, making Easter April 9.
Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere view
For Northern Hemisphere moon watchers, the rising Pink Moon glows brightly above Spica, the brightest star in the constellation Virgo the Maiden. In the hour just after midnight, the moon arcs above the southern horizon and lies to Spica’s upper right. When it sets on the morning of April 6, the full moon lies to Spica’s right.
For Southern Hemisphere viewers, the scene is nearly upside down. The full moon lies to the left of Spica as they both rise after sunset. In the hour just after midnight, it arcs above the northern horizon and lies to the lower left of Spica. When it sets on the morning of April 6, the full moon lies below Spica.
April full moon lies in Virgo
The April full moon can lie in front of one of two constellations of the zodiac. In most years, as it will this year, the full moon of April lands in Virgo the Maiden. But if the full moon occurs in the final few days of the month, it can fall in Libra the Scales. This doesn’t happen often and won’t happen again until 2037.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 or a utility pole. 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 Regulus, northwest of Spica. Those three stars form an attractive triangle.
As the American night of April 5-6 advances, the Pink Moon moves noticeably closer to Spica. Since the full moon sits on the opposite side of the sky as 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 twelve hours earlier.
Bottom line: At full moon, the moon rises around sunset, climbs highest in the sky around midnight, and sets around sunrise. The April 2023 full moon on the overnight of April 5–6 is the Pink Moon. It lies near the star Spica in the constellation Virgo.