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April’s full Moon names and observing notes 2014

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This month’s full moon is most commonly known as the Pink Moon. It is also known as the Seed Moon, Planter’s Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Grass Moon, Flower Moon, Egg Moon, and Fish Moon. The Dakota Sioux call it the Moon When Geese Return in Scattered Formation. The Illinois call it the Do Nothing Moon. The Oto call it the Little Frogs Croak Moon.

This month the full moon comes with a special treat, a total lunar eclipse. For Aurora, CO the eclipse will begin minutes before midnight on April 14 (see below for times). The eclipse will be visible in North America. Times will be different for other locations. Check here for more information. Just enter your city.

Also on April 14 the Moon will be rising after sunset with a bright Mars above it. Very close to the Moon is the bright star Spica.The glare of the full moon may make seeing Spica difficult. Binoculars can help you see it.

Technically the full moon is only a moment in time. That moment occurs at 1:43am MDT on April 15 (April 14 on the east coast). Even though the full moon officially occurs in Aurora on April 15, moonrise on the evening of April 14 is closer to the full moon with moonrise occurring 6 hours before full moon.

The Moon will look full on the evenings April 13, 14, and 15. So which is closest to the true full moon? There is an easy way for the casual observer to tell. A full moon always rises opposite the setting Sun. In general, the Moon that rises within a half hour of sunset is closest to the full moon. If the Moon is well above the horizon or has not risen well after (greater than a half hour) sunset, it is not a full moon even though it looks like one. Let’s see what the data shows this month for Aurora, CO. For other locations check your local sunset and moonset times.

April 13

Sunset: 7:34pm MDT

Moonrise: 6:16pmMDT

Difference: 1 hour 18 minutes (Failed, Moon and Sun are not opposite)

April 14

Sunset: 7:35pm MDT

Moonrise: 7:18pmMDT

Difference: 17 minutes (Pass, Moon and Sun are opposite)

April 15

Sunset: 7:36pm MDT

Moonrise: 8:21pm MDT

Difference: 45 minutes (Failed, Moon and Sun are not opposite)

This test works pretty much every time for any full looking Moon. If the Moon looks full and opposite (within 30 minutes) the Sun in the evening or morning it’s a full moon. Take the time this month to see the difference.

A full moon is the only time the Moon is up all night and the only time a lunar eclipse can take place as will happen in the early morning hours on April 15. Here is the schedule.

  • April 14 at 11:58pm Partial Eclipse begins
  • April 15 at 1:07am Full Eclipse begins
  • April 15 at 1:45am Maximum Eclipse
  • April 15 at 2:22am Full Eclipse ends
  • April 15 at 3:31am Partial Eclipse ends

Full moons also set in the west opposite the rising Sun. Living near the front range, as we do, provides some pretty nifty moonsets over the mountains, easily noticed by early morning west-bound commuters.

On April 15 (morning) moonset (6:31am MDT) will occur 9 minutes after sunrise (6:22am MDT). You want to start watching around 6:00am MDT and observe the sunrise. They are usually pretty good here in Colorado.

Wishing you clear skies

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