Later this month, a full Strawberry Moon will appear in the night sky before the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere.
This Strawberry Moon will also be a supermoon, meaning it will appear slightly larger and brighter than a normal full moon, although these differences are hard to spot for casual stargazers.
Full moons are moon phases that occur about once a month when our natural satellite faces the sun, with Earth in between.
During a full moon, the side facing our planet is fully lit and appears to be a perfect circle.
In June 2022, the full moon will be visible on the night of June 14, just after sunset, rising in the southeast.
Technically, the moon only gets full for a short time. On June 14, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, this moment will occur at 7:52 a.m. Eastern Time. However, the moon will not be visible in North America until later in the evening, after sunset.
While the moon technically only gets full for a moment, to most observers it will appear full for about three days centered around this time.
The traditional names given to the full moons come from a number of places and historical periods, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources.
For example, a full moon that falls in June is often referred to as “Strawberry Moon.”
According to the Almanac, this name has been used by several Native American peoples to refer to the time of year when “June-bearing” strawberries are ready for picking.
The Strawberry Moon in 2022 is also known as a ‘super moon’. This term is used to describe the moon when it is very close to its perigee — the point in its orbit when it is closest to Earth.
The distance between the Moon and Earth is not constant because our natural satellite is locked in an elliptical orbit.
While supermoon is a non-scientific term — and there are several definitions — it’s often used to describe any full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90 percent of its minimum distance from Earth.
“A supermoon is about 7 percent larger and 15 percent brighter than the average full moon, but casual stargazers won’t recognize this at first glance: those are
not really obvious variations,” said astronomer Gianluca Masi of the Virtual Telescope Project news week†
“But the difference in apparent size can be seen in photos: take a photo of the upcoming supermoon and compare it to another photo of a typical full moon, provided you use the same equipment/zoom factor. You’ll see the difference,” he said.
The June strawberry moon appears shortly before the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, an astronomical event that marks the longest day of the year for this region and the beginning of astronomical summer.
The solstice is the point in the year when the North Pole is tilted furthest toward the sun. During the June solstice, our star takes the longest route between rising and setting, so the day it falls has the most hours of sunlight and the shortest night of the year.
While the term “summer solstice” is often used to refer to the longest day of the year as a whole, the event technically only occurs at a specific time, which is 5:14 a.m. ET on June 21, 2022.