Incredible pictures show pink supermoon in the West Country - but what is it?

supermoon pink moon night lunar
The pink supermoon over Stroud Credit: Dee Sampson

Under clear skies, the south west enjoyed the first supermoon of 2021 on the night of the 27 April, but what makes this full moon so special?

What is a supermoon?

We have full moons every 29.5 days, and we see the different moon phases during this time as it orbits the earth. However, the orbit isn't circular, it's elliptical and so there are times when it's a bit closer and a bit further away.

At it's closest the moon appears slightly bigger and brighter and that brings it the name "supermoon". The opposite is a "micromoon", when the moon is at its furthest from us.

Supermoon over Corsley, Wiltshire Credit: Mike Read

We only have two supermoons this year and the next is Wednesday 26 May.

Why is it pink?

The moon isn't pink in colour, but like all supermoons there is history in their naming from Native American observations of wildlife and nature throughout the year. This one is pink due to the flowering of a particular wildflower. The next supermoon will be the "flower moon".

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What do they look like?

Much like a full moon, only slightly bigger and brighter but by an amount that's hard to notice with the naked eye. Thankfully many of you took some fantastic photos...

The supermoon setting over St. Michael's Mount Credit: Stu Cornell
The pink supermoon in the night sky above Weymouth Credit: Geoff Coates