The full moon has inspired everything from religious festivals to horror films and outlandish doomsday conspiracy theories.

And April’s orb will reach its fullest point overnight tonight, with British stargazers hoping that the clearer weather can continue long enough to get a decent sighting of it.

Each lunar cycle lasts just over 29.5 days, which means that the full moon tends to fall on a slightly different date each month – here’s when you’ll see the next one, and if you’ll get a decent view.

What time does the April 2023 full moon peak?

The next full moon actually reaches its peak on Thursday 6 April, according to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich – however, it is at its biggest at 5.34am UK time .

Because of this, the moon will be most clearly visible overnight tonight, peaking just before sunrise on Thursday.

Here are the dates and times for the rest of this year’s full moons:

  • 6 January (11.07pm)
  • 5 February (6.28pm)
  • 7 March (12.40pm)
  • 6 April (5.34am)
  • 5 May (6.34pm)
  • 4 June (4.41am)
  • 3 July (12.38pm)
  • 1 August (7.31pm)
  • 31 August (2.35am)
  • 29 September (10.57am)
  • 28 October (9.24pm)
  • 27 November (9.16am)
  • 27 December (12.33am)
The full moon rises behind a silhouetted gargoyle atop the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris, on April 4, 2023. (Photo by Stefano RELLANDINI / AFP) (Photo by STEFANO RELLANDINI/AFP via Getty Images)
The weather in the UK tonight doesn’t look conducive to stargazing (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

What is the latest UK weather forecast?

According to the Met Office, the overnight weather forecast for the UK on Wednesday night is as follows: “Early evening cloud and rain will slowly become confined to eastern UK overnight.

“Clearer skies follow, but with some showers, these heavy at times and mainly in the west. Milder than last night.”

Unfortunately, the forecaster’s outlook is fairly bleak for stargazers around 5am, when the full moon peaks.

Much of the UK, particularly in eastern areas, are forecast to see heavy rain, with scattered fog in other regions and only the south-west of England currently predicted to be clear.

The Met Office weather forecast for the UK at 5am on Thursday 6 April (Photo: Met Office)
The Met Office weather forecast for the UK at 5am on Thursday 6 April (Photo: Met Office)

Why do some people call it the ‘Pink Moon’?

April’s full moon has come to be known as the “Pink Moon” in some quarters, as per the American Farmer’s Almanac, which has becomce the gold standard for such matters.

According to the publication, its name is not a reference to the orb’s colour – instead, “the reality is not quite as mystical or awe-inspiring.”

It explains: “April’s full Moon often corresponded with the early springtime blooms of a certain wildflower native to eastern North America: Phlox subulata—commonly called creeping phlox or moss phlox—which also went by the name ‘moss pink’.”

These moon names, and their purported meanings, have gained increased traction in recent years, with the labels generally attributed to Native American tribes.

The Farmer’s Almanac first published its list of moon names in the 1930s:

  • January: Wolf Moon
  • February: Snow Moon
  • March: Worm Moon
  • April: Pink Moon
  • May: Flower Moon
  • June: Strawberry Moon
  • July: Buck Moon
  • August: Sturgeon Moon
  • September: Harvest Moon
  • October: Hunter’s Moon
  • November: Beaver Moon
  • December: Cold Moon

They appear to have become more popular after the 2014 lunar eclipse – a phenomenon colloquially referred to a “blood moon,” due to it causing the moon to have a reddish hue – ignited interest in such romanticised names.

There is no standardised Native American calendar, according to Laura Redish, director and cofounder of Native Languages of the Americas, although Nasa says the names derive from the Algonquin tribe, part of a larger cultural linguistic group called Algonquian.

Some of the popularly used names, such as the “strawberry moon” and “harvest moon”, do seem to be Algonquin, according to a list published by Algonquin Nation Tribal Council in 2005.

Others, such as the “wolf moon,” aren’t – the tribe apparently referred to January as “long moon month”.

According to Ms Redish, different tribes used different calendars, and a range of calendars seem to have been swiped for the popularly used names, while some of the popular monikers are essentially fabrications.

The Farmer’s Almanac says its names “come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American and European sources”.

By admin