Let’s face it: It’s always fun to look at a full moon when it’s low in the sky and shining brightly just above the horizon.
If you agree, you’re in for a special treat this month. The full moon on June 14, known as the Strawberry Moon, will also be a supermoon. That means it will appear larger and brighter than other full moons.
The Moon’s Color
If you aren’t familiar with the term “Strawberry Moon,” you may be wondering if the moon will appear pink or strawberry colored. Unfortunately, while it will appear large and bright, the moon will be its usual yellowish color when it rises on June 14.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains that, depending on the date, June’s full moon is either the last full moon of spring or the first full moon of summer. It gets its Strawberry Moon name from the Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples because this full moon occurs around the time strawberries are harvested in the northeast U.S.
Why June’s Full Moon Is Special This Year
The moon’s orbit around Earth isn’t circular, it’s elliptical. Although the distance between the moon and Earth varies throughout the month and even the year, the average distance is approximately 238,855 miles, according to NASA.
Since the moon has an elliptical orbit, there are times when it is closer to Earth than others. The point in the moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth is called the perigee. When the moon is full when it reaches that point, it’s called a supermoon because it appears 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than other full moons.
Interestingly, there isn’t an official definition for how close the moon must be to Earth to be considered a supermoon. Astrologer Richard Nolle first used the term “supermoon” in 1979, and in his definition, Nolle explained that a full moon or new moon is a supermoon when it’s within 90 percent of its closest point to Earth, according to EarthSky.
While the average distance from Earth to the moon is 238,855 miles, on June 14, however, the moon will be 222,238 miles from Earth, making it a supermoon, EarthSky explains.
How To View The Strawberry Supermoon
The Strawberry Supermoon will become full at 7:51 a.m. Eastern on June 14, according to Time and Date.
However, that’s not the time to look for the Strawberry Supermoon. Instead, you’ll want to watch the moon rise above the horizon just after sunset. You can use The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s Moonrise and Moonset Calculator to see when the moon will rise in your area on June 14 — or any other time, for that matter. It can be found here.
Here’s why you’ll want to see the moon rise: When the moon is low in the sky, it appears bigger and brighter than when it’s high in the sky, due to what’s called the “Moon Illusion,” Time and Date explains.
Finally, since the Moon Illusion occurs when the moon is low in the sky, the best place to see the Strawberry Supermoon will be somewhere with an unobstructed view of the horizon. Large fields, parking lots, and other places that don’t have trees or buildings blocking the horizon will be good places to see the Strawberry Supermoon at its largest and brightest.
While you’re thinking about it, be sure to read all of our stargazing content, including: