June’s full moon — known as the Strawberry Moon — takes place on June 24. It also will be a supermoon, meaning it will appear larger and brighter than other full moons.
The Strawberry Moon
First things first: Will the moon appear pink or strawberry colored? Unfortunately, while it will appear large and bright, the moon will be its usual yellowish color when it rises above the horizon.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains that June’s full moon is — depending on when it occurs — 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.
A Supermoon Or Not?
The average distance between the moon and the Earth is approximately 238,000 miles, a Time and Date article explains. Since the moon has an elliptical orbit, however, there are times when it is closer to Earth than others. The point on the Moon’s orbit when it is closest to Earth is called the perigee. When the moon is full during its perigee, it’s called a supermoon because it appears 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than other full moons.
Now, here’s where things get complicated. There is no official definition stipulating how close the moon must be to Earth to be considered a supermoon. The term “supermoon” was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 to refer to the moon when it is within 90 percent of perigee, according to NASA.
Per EarthSky, on June 24, 2021, the Moon will be 224,662 miles away from Earth. Since EarthSky uses a liberal benchmark — 224,791 miles or closer – it considers June’s full moon to be a supermoon.
On the other hand, Time and Date considers a full moon to be a supermoon when it is less than 223,694 miles from the center of Earth. By that definition, June’s full moon won’t quite be close enough to Earth for Time and Date — or NASA — to consider it a supermoon.
Although organizations may differ in whether they consider the Strawberry Moon to be a supermoon or not, it won’t make much difference to the causal observer. Regardless of its name, on Thursday, June 24, the Moon will still appear full, large, and bright as it rises above the horizon. Plus, the Moon will appear full to the unaided eye on Wednesday and Friday, as well — giving you three chances for optimal viewing.
How To View The Full Moon
The Strawberry Moon will become full at 2:40 p.m. EST on June 24. What you’ll want to do, however, is simply look for the full moon — low on the horizon — just after sunset. That’s because the Moon appears largest when it is just above the horizon due to an effect called the moon illusion.
Pro Tip: Since the moon illusion occurs when the Moon is low in the sky, the best place to see it will be somewhere that offers an unobstructed view. 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 Moon at its largest and brightest. If you’re looking to go all out, check out Our 8 Favorite Places For Stargazing In The U.S.
Finally, don’t worry if the skies will be cloudy at your location. Gianluca Masi, founder of Europe’s Virtual Telescope Project, has announced he will run a live stream of the Strawberry Moon rising above Rome. You can watch the live stream here.