The Strawberry Moon Starts the Summer Season of Stargazing

Strawberry Moon rising over Manhattan

The Strawberry Moon is the first in a series of summer astronomical events

This summer has started strong in terms of astronomical phenomena, as this month’s full moon is sets off the season of stargazing. Called the Strawberry Moon, the phenomenon arrives near the end of the month, at the same time with the Saturn opposition. This means not only the moon will shine bright on the sky, but also Saturn.

This summer is full of astronomical events

This spring was rich in terms of shooting stars, with the most popular events of its kind being the Lyrid and the Eta Aquariid meteor showers. However, the summer is even richer when it comes to astronomical phenomena. Soon after the summer solstice, they make their debut with June’s full moon, called the Strawberry Moon.

This phenomenon will reach its peak on June 28th, starting the official season of stargazing and of other celestial events. First of all, it doesn’t come alone. This month’s full moon falls right in the middle of the Saturn opposition, when the planet is at its closest point to Earth. Therefore, apart from the bright moon, we’ll also see Saturn as brighter than it usually is.

July comes with another exquisite opposition, where another planet gets close to Earth. This time, it’s Mars, which will be the closest to our planet it has been in 15 years. The ringed giant will appear bright to the naked eye but, if you have a telescope, you’ll be able to study it even better.

The Strawberry Moon and Saturn will be bright at the same moment

Getting back to the Strawberry Moon, we should explain where its name comes from. The Native Americans gave each full moon of the year different nicknames, according to the moment when they occurred. June’s phenomenon is called like that since it marks the start of the strawberry picking season.

On June 27th, our planet will reach the exact point on its orbit between Saturn and the sun, making the giant visible from the surface. The Strawberry Moon will reach its fullest phase at 12:53 a.m., while Saturn will appear brightest around midnight. Therefore, this is the perfect moment to watch them both shining bright in the sky.

Image source: Flickr

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