The first of at least two supermoons of 2021 appeared on Monday, lighting up the night sky around the world.
It is also known as a pink moon, after the pink phlox that blooms in springtime, although it is pink in name only.
The moon’s orbit around the Earth is elliptical, making the distance between the two bodies change at times. When a full moon makes its closest approach to Earth, it looks bigger and brighter than usual and thus is described as a “supermoon”.
The full moon has other names as well, including the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and the Fish Moon.
According to Brian McNoldy, an atmospheric scientist from the University of Miami in the US, exceptionally high tides are common when the moon is closest to Earth.
“Right now, we’re in the phase of an 18.6-year lunar cycle that lessens the moon’s influence on the oceans. The result can make it seem like the coastal flooding risk has levelled off, and that can make sea-level rise less obvious,” McNoldy said.
The next supermoon will occur on May 26 – the closest supermoon of the year at 357,463km (222,117 miles) away from the Earth.