The supermoon, also known as the pink moon, rises over the Papago Park Buttes on April 7, 2020. It is the biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020.
Rob Schumacher/The Republic

Hikers enjoy the views at Papago Park as the moon rises in Phoenix April 5, 2020. Social distancing guidelines from the coronavirus pandemic haven’t kept people off the hiking trails.
Michael Chow/The Republic

The supermoon, also known as the pink moon, rises over the Papago Park Buttes on April 7, 2020. It is the biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020.
Rob Schumacher/The Republic

The supermoon rises over a neon ice cream cone on a Braum’s sign in Owasso, Okla., April 7, 2020.
Mike Simons, Tulsa World via AP

A plane approaches Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport as hikers on “A” mountain enjoy the views while the moon rises behind them in Tempe on April 5, 2020. Social distancing orders from the coronavirus pandemic has not kept people from crowding hiking trails.
Michael Chow/The Republic

The supermoon, also known as the pink moon, rises over the Papago Park Buttes on April 7, 2020. It is the biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020.
Rob Schumacher/The Republic

A view of the supermoon over Santiago’s Cathedral, in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain.
Lavandeira jr, EPA-EFE

The supermoon is seen from Nashville, Tenn., Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean

The pink supermoon rises over St. Louis on April 7, 2020. April’s supermoon is the brightest and largest it will be for all of 2020.
David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

The so-called pink supermoon rises above the Highway 509 bridge over the Thea Foss Waterway, April 7, 2020, in Tacoma, Wash.
Ted S. Warren, AP

A supermoon rises behind the campanile on the University of Kansas campus In Lawrence, Kan., April 7, 2020.
Orlin Wagner, AP

The supermoon rises, with the Elbphilharmonie in the foreground, in Hamburg, Germany, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Axel Heimken, dpa via AP

The supermoon rises behind an illuminated cross on a Christian Orthodox church in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 7, 2020. The phenomenon of supermoon’ happens when the moon is at its closest point to the earth and looks larger than usual.
Alexander Zemlianichenko, AP

The supermoon sets behind the Brandenburg Gate, April 8, 2020, in Berlin, Germany, with the Quadriga on the Brandenburg Gate seen on foreground.
Paul Zinken, dpa via AP

A plane flies in front of a supermoon on Feb.19, 2019, in Nuremberg, Germany.
DANIEL KARMANN, DPA via AP

The supermoon rises behind the cross on the Bell tower of the Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, April 7, 2020.
Pavel Golovkin, AP

A supermoon rises behind a statue of the Roman god Mercury mounted on top of a hotel tower, April 7, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mark Humphrey, AP

A supermoon rises over the Parthenon on the ancient Acropolis Hill in Athens, Greece, on Feb. 19, 2019.
PETROS GIANNAKOURIS, AP

A supermoon rises behind the artwork titled Seven Magic Mountains by artist Ugo Rondinone, April 7, 2020, in Las Vegas.
John Locher, AP

A supermoon sets as seen from Whitley Bay, England, as the sun begins to rise, early on Feb. 19, 2019.
OWEN HUMPHREYS, PA via AP

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The supermoon, also known as the pink moon, rises over the Papago Park Buttes on April 7, 2020. It is the biggest and brightest supermoon of 2020.

Anne Ryman, Arizona Republic

Published 4:11 p.m. MT May 5, 2020

Arizona is taking steps to gradually re-open, but many people may be nervous about venturing out and doing too much too quickly.

Stepping outside your house to view the so-called Super Flower Moon this week, however, is a comfortable and a safe way to end the day.

The best night for seeing the Super Flower Moon is Wednesday, May 6. But a nearly full moon on Thursday evening will make for great viewing that evening as well.

The best time to view the supermoon is while it rises in the sky because the contrast against buildings and trees makes the moon appear even larger. On Wednesday night, the moonrise is at 6:40 p.m. in the Phoenix area. On Thursday, the moonrise is at 7:52 p.m. If you live outside the Phoenix area, enter your city’s name into this website to find moonrise times for your area.

Related News: NASA’s Perseverance Rover Mission Getting in Shape for Launch

“There’s a lot of neat stuff to look at in the sky, but the moon is right up there as one of my favorites because you can see so much without any equipment,” said Kevin Schindler, a historian at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.

Moon activities for the family

Schindler recommends three activities that can make moon gazing more fun and interactive:

  • See who can spot the moon first. Go outside a few minutes before the moon rises and try to guess exactly where the moon will appear over the horizon. Will it appear over this fence post? Or that tree?
  • Observe how the color changes. As it rises, the moon takes on a pink-orange glow, which is due to the Earth’s atmosphere. A couple hours later, the moon appears gray and white when it’s high in the sky.
  • Watch a special program on the moon live from Arizona. Lowell Observatory will host an hour-long show on the internet, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The livestream will feature pictures and maps, and a discussion of the moon’s geography and formation.

What is a supermoon?

Supermoons happen a few times a year when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit. The name comes from appearing about 14% larger and 30% brighter than a typical full moon. The May supermoon is known as the “flower moon,” because flowers typically cover the ground in many parts of the country.

When is the next supermoon?

If you miss the May supermoon, you will have to wait almost a year for the next one. The next supermoon won’t make an appearance until April 27, 2021.

Reach the reporter at anne.ryman@arizonarepublic.com or 602-444-8072. Follow her on Twitter @anneryman.

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