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Saturday, April 7, 2012
How the Moon Affects the Date of Easter
Friday (April 6) brings us the first full moon of the new spring season.
The official moment that the moon turns full is 19:19 UT, or 3:19 p.m. EDT.
Traditionally, the April full moon is known as "the Pink Moon," supposedly as a tribute to the grass pink or wild ground phlox, considered one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other monikers include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon and, among coastal Native American tribes, the Full Fish Moon, for when the shad came upstream to spawn.
(Traditional names for the full moons of the year are found in some publications, such as the Farmers' Almanac. We also published the complete list of full moon names here on SPACE.com. The origins of these names have been traced back to Native America, though they may also have evolved from old England or, as Guy Ottewell, editor of the annual publication Astronomical Calendar, suggests, "writer's fancy.")
The first full moon of spring is usually designated as the Paschal Full Moon or the Paschal Term. Traditionally, Easter is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon. If the Paschal Moon occurs on a Sunday, Easter is the following Sunday.