If you missed catching the gorgeous mini-moon this past Earth Day, you're not entirely out of luck — but you might have to wait a little bit: If you've been wondering when the next mini-moon is, the astrological event won't occur until June 9, 2017. Yes, 2017 — over a year away. I know that feels like forever, but it's pretty much the norm when it comes to the way moon cycles operate; basically, there are 14 cycles (moon cycles) that dictate the pace at which we humans catch the moon. But though it's a bit of a bummer if you sleep through the extra cool moon sightings (like yours truly has done for basically all of them in recent years), astronomy is always pretty neat — and what's more there's a ton of research on planetary alignments and sightings out there, so you can plan pretty far ahead of time to make sure you stay up and see these glorious moons. So if you want to see the next mini-moon, mark your calendar!
For the sake of clarity, though, let's first cover what a mini-moon actually is. Every year, one full moon will occur when the moon is the farthest away from Earth, while another will occur when the moon is closest to Earth. The closest full moon, called a perigee moon, appears super huge in the sky; you may remember the massive, dark red "Blood Moon" we were lucky enough to witness this past fall as an excellent example of a perigee moon. Meanwhile, the furthest full moon, called an apogee moon, appears super tiny (though still visible) in the sky — in other words, it's a mini-moon. On the surface level, this is pretty simple but fascinating stuff. So, earlier this month, we humans were in for a special treat: Not only did we get a mini-moon, but it happened to be a pink moon as well.
So, OK, back to the future (ha!) of the next mini-moon: If you (like me) missed seeing the Earth Day mini-moon outside in real time, you aren't totally out of luck. You can still find photos and videos from livestreams of the mini-moon to indulge in when the actual sky is full of clouds (or, if you like in an urban area like myself, full of pollution and skyscrapers). Better yet, when the next mini-moon arrives, you can plan to see it outside because you have over a year to prepare for it. Checking out the stars and moon can be really fun and romantic, as well as a cheap date.
Remember, it's the mini moon, so if you're really dedicated to this, it might be worth checking out some cool camera equipment or even a telescope so you can catch the best view possible of this little moon-nugget in the sky. You have a whole year to prepare this time, so don't be like me and sleep through it!