The Strawberry Moon will peak later today (Monday, June 17). Here in the UK, the Moon will achieve full illumination at approximately 9.30am BST when the Earth’s celestial satellite is still below the horizon. So in order to see the Strawberry Moon in all its glory, stargazers will need to wait until moonrise around 9.30pm BST in the evening. But, once the Midsummer Full Moon does reappear in the night skies it will be exquisitely bright and beautiful.
Stargazers are in for a treat tonight, when this month’s Full Moon will loom in the night sky.
Early Native American tribes, dubbed the Midsummer Full Moon the “Full Strawberry Moon”, because it arrived at the time of the year when ripe fruit was harvested.
But this is not the only name the June Full Moon is known by.
An old European name for this Full Moon is the Honey Moon and Mead Moon.
Mead is the alcoholic drink made by fermenting honey mixed with water.
And the time around the summer solstice at the end of June is when honey is ready to be harvested from bee hives.
The tradition of calling the first month of marriage the “honeymoon” – which dates back to at least the 1500’s – may also be tied to this Full Moon.
This could be because of the custom of marrying in June, or because the “Honey Moon” is the “sweetest” Moon of the year, according to NASA’s Gordon Johnston.
Will the Strawberry Full Moon be red?
Another name for the June Full Moon is the Rose Moon, due to its distinctive hue at this time of year.
According to Mr Johnston, the orbit of the Moon around the Earth is almost in the same plane as the orbit of the Earth around the Sun, around 5 degrees off.
When the Sun appears highest in the sky near the summer solstice, the full Moon opposite the Sun generally appears lowest in the sky.
This means that the full Moon nearest the summer has to travel through more atmosphere than at other times of the year, giving it a photogenic pink-red colour.
When is the next Full Moon and what is it called?
After the Strawberry Moon makes its glowing cameo tonight, the next Full Moon is the Buck Moon.
The Buck Moon is traditionally the seventh Full Moon of the year in July.
This year, the Moon will rise over the horizon in the late hours of Tuesday, July 16.
When viewed from the UK, the Full Moon will peak in brightness around 10.38pm BST (9.38pm UTC).