What is a Strawberry supermoon and why is it called this?

·2-min read
Strawberry moon tonight: what is it and when can you see it? (PA Archive)
Strawberry moon tonight: what is it and when can you see it? (PA Archive)

Stargazers in the UK have had a real treat, as they were able to see the ‘strawberry supermoon’ lighting up the heavens in one of the year’s most impressive and incredible displays.

But, what is a Strawberry Supermoon, why is it called that, and when can we see it?

Here’s everything you need to know...

Why is it called a Strawberry Supermoon?

The full moon in June is also known as the “strawberry moon” as it coincides with the harvesting season of the fruit in North America.

The name is rooted in the traditions of Indigenous groups in the Northeastern US, including the Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota and Lakota communities that saw the celestial event as a sign that strawberries, and other fruits, were ripe and ready to be gathered.

When can we see it?

According to The Royal Observatory, the full moon will peak on Tuesday, June 14, but the timing of moonrise will depend on where you are.

In the UK, moonrise will take place at about 10pm BST, in Los Angeles it’ll be just before 9pm PDT and in New York it’ll be just after 9pm EDT. You can check your specific moonrise timings here.

Despite the fact this ‘peak’ occurs in the daytime, you will still be able to enjoy the spectacle during the evenings around that date when the moon will still appear full.

The best time to view the Strawberry Supermoon is at the start of moonrise or moonset as it will appear larger near the horizon

The strawberry moon will be the final supermoon of 2021

Astronomer Jake Foster

What is a Supermoon?

Mr Foster said: “A supermoon is the result of a full moon occurring when the moon is near its closest point to the Earth in its orbit.

“This can occur because the moon orbits the Earth on an elliptical path, rather than a circular one.

“Since this means that the moon is slightly closer to us, it appears slightly bigger in the sky.”

He said the best way to see strawberry moon will be to look southeast just after sunset.

Mr Foster added: “The moon will make its way west throughout the night before setting in the southwest just after sunrise.

“You don’t need any special equipment to observe this event and there is no particular location you need to be to see it – as this is a bright full moon, as long as the skies are clear of clouds, it will be easy to spot whether you are in a light-polluted city or a dark area of countryside.”

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