The largest and brightest moon of 2020 slipped into the night sky over Missoula on Tuesday, accompanied by the howling of southside residents shut away during the pandemic.
The moon appeared at 8:20 p.m. over the South Hills near the peak of Mount Dean Stone before climbing into a cloudless sky as the evening grew dark.
Dozens of residents appeared in streets and parks to observe the event. Others bayed at the moon in support of area healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The echoes of their howling spread like a wave across the city.
“Glad to howl with you tonight,” one woman told friends in a park.
According to the Royal Observatory in London, if the moon is within 10% of its closest distance to the earth at the moment of a full moon, it’s deemed a supermoon. The April moon was only 221,918 miles from earth, about 17,000 miles closer than its average.
This month’s full moon was the closest supermoon of year. It was a dubbed a “Pink Moon” due to blooming flowers in some parts of the world. In Missoula at least, the spring chutes of Iris and lillies are just starting to appear, though their flowers are still weeks away.