Strawberry Moon: How and when to watch the last supermoon of 2021
This year's Strawberry Moon will hit the skies on June 24, the same day people celebrate Midsummer Day, Fairy Day and UFO Day
After April's Pink Moon and May's total lunar eclipsed Flower Moon, the third and definitely the most adorably named supermoon this year is set to rise in the skies on the evening of Thursday, June 24 -- the Strawberry Moon.
Aside from the 12 full moons, 2021, will be a treat for skywatchers, as the year will feature three supermoons, one blue moon, and two lunar eclipses. Other celestial events lined up this year are the Perseid meteor showers coming up in August and the Geminids in December, slated to be the strongest meteor showers this year.
Although the moon will not be full until it rises beyond the horizon on Thursday, June 24, evening, it will appear large when it rises in the eastern sky at the same time as the sun sets in the western sky. However, despite being a supermoon, it will not resemble a strawberry and will most likely not be red, according to astronomers, who also said that the moon may have a golden hue.
This Thursday, the last supermoon of the year will have a sweet ending – it’s a Strawberry Moon! It's coined ‘Strawberry Moon’ because it signaled a time to gather the harvest of strawberries and other fruits. 🍓Get the details: https://t.co/6yaRFexegx pic.twitter.com/AuFO4UzY1b— NASA (@NASA) June 23, 2021
When is the Strawberry Moon?
According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the full moon in June will reach peak light at 2.40 pm EDT on Thursday, although it will not be visible until later that evening when it slips above the horizon. The full moon will set in the southwestern sky at 5.59 am, Friday, June 25.
When a full moon approaches perigee or its closest approach to the Earth, supermoons occur. According to NASA, this Thursday's moon qualifies as a supermoon because it will be further away from Earth than the other three supermoons that occurred this year in March, April, and May.
Why is it called the strawberry moon?
According to the almanac, the full moon in June is known as the strawberry moon because it alerted some Native American tribes like the Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples, that it was the time of year to pick ripening strawberries. Bob Bonadurer, director of the Milwaukee Public Museum's planetarium, told USA Today that the strawberry moon is the most colorful of the year because it travels through the sky in a low, shallow path.
Because the June full moon has a low arc across the sky, it must go through more of the Earth's atmosphere, giving it an orange or yellow tinge. The moon rises during the start of summer, the strawberry moon is also known as the "hot moon." Alternative names in Europe include the honey moon, mead moon and rose moon.
Moon coincides with Midsummer Day, Fairy Day and UFO Day
This year's Strawberry Moon is even more special as it rises on Midsummer Day, which is celebrated on June 24, the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. The day is celebrated by Christian communities around the world with bonfires to war off evil spirits and witches, feasting, singing and Maypole dancing.
Incidentally, June 24 also celebrates International Fairy Day and World UFO Day, which is also celebrated on July 2. According to the National Day Calendar, Fairy Day is celebrated with fairytale readings, creating fairy gardens and learning about different kinds of fairies like brownies and hobgoblins. So the Strawberry Moon this year will definitely be magical!