Moon rising
A pink moon over Arizona

April's full moon

The full moon has inspired folklore, myths, writers, and artists throughout history and has been given many names, depending on the time of year it appears. April's first full moon is known as the pink moon, but that doesn’t mean it will appear pink against the night sky. Native Americans named it for the pink wildflowers, moss pink or creeping phlox, that bloom in the eastern US in the spring.

If it does appear pink, orange, or golden, it is because sunlight reflects off the moon and travels through our atmosphere. Here, dust, pollution, and other particles scatter the light, making it appear more colorful when it hangs lower in the sky. It appears whiter as it rises. Perhaps this pink moon is tinged by the dust of the Arizona desert.