If you have ever seen a full-of-the-moon in June, you’ll have noticed something a touch off about it. The moon usually glows a bright snowy white. Yet the complete moon during this month generally appears with an orange tint, as if it were made from stale cheddar. This is a phenomenon referred to as the “Strawberry Moon” and, within the year 2021, it’s scheduled to happen on the night of Thursday, June 24. But why the moniker “strawberry?”
The Strawberry Moon, specifically, generally refers to the complete Moon in June — which is that the last full-of-the-moon of spring, or the primary of summer, counting on when it lands. Since June 21 landed on June 20 this year, this year’s Strawberry Moon is that the first of summer. As for the orange tint, there’s an astronomical explanation. When the moon sits low within the sky, it appears redder, almost like how the sky generally appears red towards the horizon at sunset. “The color of the complete moon depends on location,” Harvard University theoretical physicist Dr. Avi Loeb wrote to Salon.
“At high latitudes, the complete moon nearest the June 21 shines through more atmosphere than at other times of the year, making it more likely to possess a reddish color as a result of scattering. For this reason, the moon may appear red or pink when it’s low within the sky and is that the same reason sunsets and sunrises have these colors.” A full-of-the-moon always appears within the sky almost directly opposite the sun — meaning that towards the solstice, when the sun is highest within the sky, the moon rises low within the sky even as the sunset, and thus appears reddish tinted by the atmosphere, as Loeb noted.
The origins of the term Strawberry Moon go back a few hundred years. It became traditional to ask this June full-of-the-moon because the “Strawberry Moon” after the Maine Farmer’s Almanac began publishing Native American names for the moons during the good Depression. before that, it had been often known to Westerners because the Mead Moon or the Honey Moon because the favored alcohol mead (which uses fermented honey) was related to its appearance. That said, because the astronomy editor of The Old Farmers Almanac told Salon by email, it’s important to know that this is often not a politician scientific term.
“Each Native American tribe had their own name for every month’s full-of-the-moon,” Bob Berman explained. “The Algonquin called the year’s sixth full-of-the-moon the Strawberry Moon, as did some American colonists, though most termed it ‘The Rose Moon.’ But the Laguna tribe called this moon, ‘The Corn Moon,’ the Lakota Sioux called it ‘The Moon of creating Fat,’ while the Cheyenne labeled it ‘The Moon When the Bulls Are Rutting,’ et cetera.” He added, “For astronomers (and NASA) there are only two accepted full-of-the-moon names,” namely September’s full moon and therefore the Hunter’s Moon in October.
Astronomically speaking, this particular Strawberry Moon is additionally an enormous deal because it’ll also arguably be the last supermoon — an event when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in orbit — to occur in 2021. Curiously, dubbing this moon a “supermoon” is debatable: Some authorities, like the Farmer’s Almanac, regard a moon as “super” only it’s closer than 224,000 miles faraway from Earth. Tomorrow’s Strawberry Moon is going to be around 224,662 miles away, meaning it’s 662 miles shy. (The moon is in an elliptical orbit around the Earth, and varies between being 252,700 miles away and 221,500 miles away. 224,662 miles is certainly on the closer end of that range, meaning it’ll appear within the sky larger than average).
In any case, the Strawberry Moon has been related to people getting hitched, chickens laying basket upon basket of eggs, and harvests being particularly bountiful for “sweet” agricultural staples like strawberries. Throughout history, and in cultures from the indigenous Americas to the west, the Strawberry Moon has been linked to the foremost important and fundamental aspects of human life: farming and fertility. Indeed, the term “honeymoon” may even originate from the Strawberry Moon, either due to the recognition of June weddings or because it’s a moon-related to sweet foods.
If you’re worried about missing the Strawberry Moon, you’ve time to ascertain it. it’s expected to be visible in some form or other for roughly three days. Moon-tracking websites like timeanddate.com can assist you find out when and the way to best view it in your area. Should that fail to pan out, take comfort within the knowledge that there are six more full moons scheduled for 2021: Buck Moon, Sturgeon Moon, full moon, Hunter’s Moon, Beaver Moon, and Cold Moon. allis scheduled to occur once a month within that month’s final fortnight.