The 2017 Strawberry moon is set to occur on June 9, but did you know that night will also play host to another lunar phenomenon — the mini moon? Yes, they are happening at the same time, but no, they aren’t the same thing. The difference between strawberry and mini moons have to do with labeled moons based on seasons, versus the size of the moon based on its orbit around the Earth.
Themed moons, like the snow moon or the wolf moon, are based on times of the year. These names come from Algonquin tribes who would name moons in order to split up seasons and times of the year. The strawberry moon always happens this time of year because it signifies the start of strawberry harvesting season.
Now the mini moon isn’t a themed moon, but a type of moon that happens quite a few times a year. Since the moon’s orbit around the earth isn’t centered, this means that some moons will look smaller or larger based on the positioning of the orbit, as well as Earth’s orbit around the sun. Although you may not notice it, a mini moon (also known as apogee) looks smaller because 252,000 miles from Earth, while a super moon (perigee) is around 225,700 miles.
Every two weeks the moon will either be a mini moon or a super moon, correlating with either a full moon schedule or a new moon schedule. So, on June 9 when the Strawberry moon comes out to play, it will be a full moon and a mini moon. Basically, a tiny little strawberry floating in the sky.
Now you may think that a strawberry moon means that the moon will actually be the color of the strawberry, but that’s actually not true. Yes, sometimes the moon will have some pinkish tones, but only when it is close to the horizon. When the moon is out in the beautiful night sky, it will be a normal moon color. Sigh.
But, even if the moon won’t be bright red, or you may not notice that the moon is smaller or not, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the Strawberry mini moon by throwing a huge blanked in a field, pop open a bottle of bubbly, and enjoy a starry night out with your squad.