Witness the Stunning Strawberry Moon Alongside the Summer Solstice This June

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By Lydia Amazouz Published on June 16, 2024 10:14
Witness the Stunning Strawberry Moon Alongside the Summer Solstice This June

Stargazers are in for a treat as the "strawberry moon" graces the night sky in June 2024, coinciding with the arrival of the summer solstice. This celestial event will be particularly special due to the moon's unique position in the sky and its cultural significance.

Significance of the Strawberry Moon

The "strawberry moon" is the popular name for the full moon in June, a moniker that originates from Native American tribes in the northeastern United States. They named it after the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries, a critical time for these communities as it marked the beginning of the summer fruit harvest.

Contrary to what the name might suggest, the moon will not appear reddish. Instead, it will look like a typical full moon, shining brightly in the night sky. However, under certain conditions, such as atmospheric particles and its low position in the sky, the moon can exhibit a subtle reddish or pinkish hue.

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NASA explains that the June full moon can appear reddish or rose-colored, especially when it coincides with the summer solstice. This is because the moon will be shining through more of the Earth's atmosphere, similar to the way a setting or rising sun appears red.

Witness The Stunning Strawberry Moon Alongside The Summer Solstice This June

This phenomenon is more pronounced at higher latitudes, where the angle of the moonlight passing through the atmosphere is longer, scattering shorter blue wavelengths and allowing the longer red wavelengths to dominate.

Viewing the Strawberry Moon

This year, the strawberry moon will reach its fullest phase at 9:07 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, June 21. It will be visible in the southeastern sky, rising very low above the horizon, which is why it will be the lowest full moon observed in years. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the moon will be 97% illuminated when it rises around 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, June 20. It will be fully illuminated as it starts to rise at about 8:50 p.m. on June 21, and remain 100% full on June 22, beginning to rise at 9:45 p.m.

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The low position of the moon will make it appear larger and more vivid due to the optical illusion known as the "moon illusion," where the moon looks bigger when it's close to the horizon. This illusion occurs because our brain compares the moon to objects on the horizon, such as trees or buildings, making it seem larger than when it is higher in the sky.

Additionally, the moon will appear bright orange or yellow as it rises, providing a spectacular visual experience. This coloration happens because the moon's light is passing through more of the Earth's atmosphere, scattering the shorter blue wavelengths and leaving the longer red and orange wavelengths.

Connection with the Summer Solstice

The strawberry moon's occurrence just a day after the summer solstice, which falls on June 20 this year, adds to its significance. The summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. On this day, the sun reaches its highest position in the sky, resulting in the longest period of daylight.

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This astronomical event has been celebrated for millennia in various cultures as a time of renewal, fertility, and celebration.

Because the solstice places the sun at its highest point, the moon, being opposite the sun, will be at its lowest. This unique positioning enhances the visual effect of the strawberry moon, making it appear even more striking. The combination of the solstice and the full moon is rare and creates a powerful natural event that symbolizes the balance of light and dark, day and night.

Cultural and Historical Context

The June full moon has various other names, each reflecting different cultural and regional traditions. In Europe, it is sometimes called the "rose moon" due to the blooming of roses in late June. This name highlights the importance of the moon in marking seasonal changes and agricultural cycles.

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Other names include the "hot moon," marking the onset of summer heat, and the "honey moon" or "mead moon," referring to the low position of the moon in the sky which can give it a warm tint. The term "honey moon" also ties into traditional wedding customs, where June was a popular month for marriages and the full moon was seen as a symbol of fertility and prosperity.

These names highlight the ways in which different cultures have observed and celebrated the changing seasons and natural phenomena. The strawberry moon, in particular, is a reminder of the cycles of nature and the importance of the moon in agricultural practices and cultural rituals. It signifies the time to gather ripened fruits and prepare for the abundance of summer.

How to Best View the Moon

For the best viewing experience, it's advisable to find a location with a clear view of the southeastern horizon, away from city lights that can obscure the night sky. Light pollution from urban areas can significantly diminish the visibility of celestial events, so seeking out dark, rural locations is ideal.

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The moon will be most impressive shortly after it rises, so plan to be outside around sunset. Using binoculars or a telescope can enhance the viewing experience, revealing more details of the moon's surface, such as its craters and maria (dark plains formed by ancient volcanic eruptions).

The strawberry moon's timing with the summer solstice makes it an ideal opportunity for both casual stargazers and astronomy enthusiasts to enjoy a spectacular natural event. Whether viewed alone or shared with friends and family, the sight of the full moon rising low in the sky is sure to be memorable.

This event is not only a visual delight but also a chance to connect with the rhythms of the natural world and appreciate the wonders of the universe.

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An editor specializing in astronomy and space industry, passionate about uncovering the mysteries of the universe and the technological advances that propel space exploration.

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1 comment on «Witness the Stunning Strawberry Moon Alongside the Summer Solstice This June»

  • Silver, green wolf/Dark horse.

    Time to bring out da witchy regaula and honor mother moon who summons the summer gods and goddesses!

    Reply
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