Stargazers going out tonight are in for a sweet and special treat, as June’s waxing moon will be reaching its full lunar phase in the wee hours of June 28 to show off the Strawberry Moon and to kick off a super sumptuous summer full of crazy cool celestial happenings.
As soon as the sun sets, night owls all around the globe can gather around to be amazed by the infamously full and rosy circular moon that makes its feature debut around this time every year.
It’s the Strawberry Moon, a tasty seasonal treat that appears at the beginning of the sunniest and warmest months of the year. The cute little name it’s got was cleverly coined by the Algonquian Native American people to signal that it was time to gather ripening fruit (i.e. strawberries!).
Better known as the Rose Moon by Europeans, or as the Green Corn Moon, the Planting Moon, the Birth Moon, or the Hot Moon in places where June coincides with the start of some heat-infused weather, this year’s blush-toned circular color conundrum will turn precisely full on June 27 in the west coast and on June 28 in the east coast, as Travel + Leisure reports.
More specifically, June's full moon, which can also sometimes be hailed as a "Honey Moon" or a "Mead Moon" because of its low position in the sky, will be at its peak on Wednesday, June 27 at 9:53 p.m. PT and on Thursday, June 28 at 12:53 a.m. ET -- meaning that the best time to see it “is 8:05 p.m. ET on the east coast, and 7:51 p.m. PT on the west coast” since full moons are most fabulously “observed not when it's high in the sky, but as it rises at dusk.”
But what’s so special about this year’s Strawberry Moon is that it’ll also be occurring hot on the heels of a summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, as well as during Saturn opposition, when the ringed planet will rise in the southeast sky around sunset and be at its closest and brightest in 2018 before setting in the west around sunrise.
Yahoo! provides a quick and easy roundup of some additional peak viewing times for the Strawberry Moon and Saturn here.
Bottom line: Expect to stay up late to experience some brilliantly bombastic light decorating an otherwise humdrum Wednesday night sky. Technically speaking, what will be seen is a waxing gibbous moon in the morning and a waning gibbous moon during the evening, but all we really need to know is that the 2018 Strawberry Moon will be one for the books and one for all to remember for sure.
And while this evening’s bright red radiance won’t stay around for too long, remember that there will be plenty of other opportunities to see Saturn and its bright opposition later this year – tonight is just the first of many cosmic happenings slated for this summer.
Keep up with the rest of the lunar year by following The Old Farmer’s Almanac‘s Full Moon calendar. If you really do happen to miss the celebrated event, live-stream it with help from Slooh Observatory and The Old Farmer’s Almanac starting at 8 p.m. ET.
All hail the Strawberry Moon!