Sky watchers will have a chance to catch a glimpse of the full “strawberry moon” on Friday, June 9. It will be the sixth full moon on the 2017 lunar calendar and the last full moon of the spring season in the northern hemisphere.
It also will be a “mini-moon,” the smallest looking moon of 2017, because it will be the furthest distance from the Earth when it reaches its fullest phase, according to astronomy experts at EarthSky.org.
Here are some facts about the 2017 strawberry moon, when it will be visible, how it got its name, and other nicknames for the June full moon.
When to see it
The June moon will officially be at its fullest phase at 9:09 a.m. Eastern time on Friday. Since the sun will be above the horizon and lighting up the sky at that hour, and the moon will be below the horizon at that time, sky watchers in North America will have to wait until after sunset Friday to see the full moon at its brightest, says EarthSky.org.
“As with any moon at the vicinity of full moon, it’ll light up the nighttime from early evening until dawn,” the website notes.
Other viewing options
If you don’t get a chance to see the full strawberry moon on Friday night, you can check out the near-full moon as it rises in the eastern sky after sunset (about 8:25 p.m.) on Thursday night, June 8, or on Saturday night, June 10.
What is a mini-moon?
The moon’s orbit around the Earth is not in a perfect circle, so some months a full moon is closer to our planet than it is in other months. When it’s closest to Earth, the full moon is known as a “supermoon.” When it’s furthest from our planet, the full moon is referred to as a “mini-moon.”
Although casual observers probably won’t be able to notice the difference in size or brightness, “mini-moons look up to 14 percent smaller than supermoons and are slightly less luminous than regular full moons,” according to Space.com.
Full moon nicknames
Native American tribes that settled in the United States created nicknames for each month’s full moon to help them keep track of the seasons, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. For June, the tribes referred to the full moon as the strawberry moon because June was the prime month for strawberries to be harvested.
Some people around the world, however, have a different nickname for the June full moon. In Europe, it’s referred to as the “rose moon” (for roses that bloom in June), and some cultures call it the “hot moon” because it usually arrives when the heat of summer starts getting intense.
June sky bonus
Here’s a good astronomy tip from the Farmers’ Almanac: If you’re looking at the full moon Friday night and you spot a small object that appears to be a bright star with a yellow-white glow, shining near the lower right side of the moon, that’s the planet Saturn.
— Mark Tarello (@mark_tarello) June 7, 2017
After being stuck in a wet and cloudy weather pattern during much of the past three weeks, the New York City, Philadelphia and New Jersey region is expected to have a stretch of nicer spring days coming up. While the National Weather Service is predicting mostly cloudy skies Thursday night, the sky should be just partly cloudy (with minimal cloud cover) on Friday night and mostly clear on Saturday night.