What Is A Strawberry Moon? Here's How The June Full Moon Got Its Name

If you go out stargazing tonight, you’ll see something special: The Strawberry Moon. Sadly, the Strawberry Moon, as the full moon in June is known, is neither fruity nor pink, but it’s still pretty cool — especially this year, when the Strawberry Moon will coincide with the summer solstice (aka the longest day of the year) for the first time since 1967.

The “Strawberry Moon” is a nickname for the full moon that occurs in June. Algonquin tribes coined the name because the full moon occurs at the time that strawberries are ready to be harvested. According to the HLN, the June full moon is also known as the “Rose Moon” in Europe (where strawberries aren’t native), and the “Hot Moon” in some places where June signals the start of the hot season.

Other names for the June full moon refer to the Strawberry Moon’s color. The Strawberry Moon hangs really low in the sky; Bob Berman from The Old Farmer’s Almanac writes, “Even at its loftiest at 1 AM, it’s downright wimpy-low.” This positioning, Berman explains, “forces [the moon’s] light through thicker air, which also tends to be humid this time of year, and the combination typically makes it amber colored.” This gold-orange hue has led some people to dub the June moon the “Honey Moon” or Mead Moon.”

The Strawberry Moon occurs every June, but this year is unusual because the full moon is occurring on the same day as the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Just how long that day will be depends on where you are; folks in Alaska will have nearly 24 hours of sunlight on the solstice, while people in central Texas will have closer to 14. (You can see a handy map over at Vox). In the Southern Hemisphere, today is the shortest day of the year, or the winter solstice.

If it’s too cloudy where you are to see the moon tonight, or you simply don’t want to leave the house (I don’t judge), you can watch a live-stream of the Strawberry Moon from Slooh Observatory and the The Old Farmer’s Almanac starting at 8 p.m. ET.

Images: Pixabay (1, 2)