We love living in the country, as the dark skies make for more interesting star gazing. This month's sky watching activity includes falling stars and a pink moon. On April 22 and 23, the Lyrid shower will peak with nearly 18 meteors an hour, and since they leave persistent trains, it makes them especially fun to track. The Eta Aquarids is actually a May event, but it begins in April and it's possible a clear night will allow star gazers to see activity from both showers beginning on April 22.
April's full moon, also known as the Pink moon, isn't pink at all. According to the Farmer's Almanac, it's coined the Pink Moon because it heralds the arrival of moss pink, or wild ground phlox - one of the first spring flowers. The moon is also called the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.
The Full Moon Names used in the Almanac and elsewhere, come from Algonquin tribes who lived in regions from New England to Lake Superior. Colonial Americans adopted some of the Native American names and applied them to their own calendar system. Since the Gregorian calendar that many in North American use today, the nicknames are still celebrated. Here's the full list of lunar names.
|January||Full Wolf Moon||This full Moon appeared when wolves howled in hunger outside the villages. It is also known as the Old Moon. To some Native American tribes, this was the Snow Moon, but most applied that name to the next full Moon, in February.|
|February||Full Snow Moon||Usually the heaviest snows fall in February. Hunting becomes very difficult, and hence to some Native American tribes this was the Hunger Moon.|
|March||Full Worm Moon||At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.|
|April||Full Pink Moon||This full Moon heralded the appearance of the moss pink, or wild ground phlox—one of the first spring flowers. It is also known as the Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and the Fish Moon.|
|May||Full Flower Moon||Flowers spring forth in abundance this month. Some Algonquin tribes knew this full Moon as the Corn Planting Moon or the Milk Moon.|
|June||Full Strawberry Moon||The Algonquin tribes knew this Moon as a time to gather ripening strawberries. It is also known as the Rose Moon and the Hot Moon.|
|July||Full Buck Moon||Bucks begin to grow new antlers at this time. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.|
|August||Full Sturgeon Moon||Some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this full Moon. Others called it the Green Corn Moon.|
|September||Full Corn Moon||This full Moon corresponds with the time of harvesting corn. It is also called the Barley Moon, because it is the time to harvest and thresh the ripened barley. The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the autumnal equinox, which can occur in September or October and is bright enough to allow finishing all the harvest chores.|
|October||Full Hunter’s Moon||This is the month when the leaves are falling and the game is fattened. Now is the time for hunting and laying in a store of provisions for the long winter ahead. October’s Moon is also known as the Travel Moon and the Dying Moon.|
|November||Full Beaver Moon||For both the colonists and the Algonquin tribes, this was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. This full Moon was also called the Frost Moon.|
|December||Full Cold Moon||This is the month when the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark. This full Moon is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes.|