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Friday night sky to show double feature

Friday night will treat Alaskans to a double feature showing of the pink full moon and a high likelihood of aurora borealis.
Published: Apr. 15, 2022 at 12:03 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Tonight will likely be a uniquely lit night sky that you’ll want to stay awake for, with a double feature showing of the pink full moon and a high likelihood of aurora borealis.

Like a date night double feature movie — or for you sports fans, an early season baseball double header — Mother Nature should treat us with more of a benefit for the cost of losing a couple hours of sleep on Friday night.

The full pink moon will rise at 8:06 p.m. Friday night.
The full pink moon will rise at 8:06 p.m. Friday night.(Joe Bartosik)

This month’s full moon — which is a guarantee — rises this evening at 8:06 p.m. and then peaks Saturday morning at 10:55 a.m. in Alaska, according to space.com. Throughout human history, tonight’s moon has taken on several names such as pink, sprouting grass, egg, or fish moon. Additionally, this month’s moon can be located in the vicinity of the constellations Virgo and Libra.

“The Cree of North America call it Niskipisim, the Goose Moon, the time when the geese return with spring.” Chris Vaughan wrote on space.com. “The Cherokee call it Kawonuhi, ‘the Flower Moon,’ when the plants bloom.”

The full moon tonight will not be blue, but pink instead.
The full moon tonight will not be blue, but pink instead.(Photo courtesy David Baker)

Also, because tonight’s full moon is the first full moon after the vernal equinox, that makes it the Paschal Moon, in which when the Hebrews remember the Passover. For a more detailed history on why these two events are sometimes marked at different times in early Spring, see the following articles from “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” and timeanddate.com.

The likelihood of aurora borealis over the Alaskan night sky on Friday night and into Saturday...
The likelihood of aurora borealis over the Alaskan night sky on Friday night and into Saturday morning.(Joe Bartosik)

Also appearing in Friday’s night sky are the magnetic aurora, or northern lights in our hemisphere. Among Alaska’s favorite celestial performances, tonight’s show is not 100% guaranteed. However, both the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute and NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) forecast “active” aurora activity, despite the index being reduced from a four to a three.

Weather conditions permitting, aurora should be visible across the entire state, with the strongest, or brightest, occurring roughly along a line extending from the Canadian town of Whitehorse, located in the western part of British Columbia, westward over Fairbanks. Visibility will also likely be high between Nome and Kotzebue, and westward over northern Siberia. Regardless, tonight’s full moon could potentially cast enough light to dim out the “show” should it occur as currently forecast.

For the latest forecast for your location, download the Alaska’s Weather Source app, or click here.

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