A strawberry moon will be seen in the skies worldwide today, June 2, an event recorded once every year. This June full moon is full of tradition and stories.
The moon will be found a little over the eastern horizon, just after sunset local time. The bright star to the right of our satellite at around the same elevation over the horizon is Antares. Shining high above that star is the planet Saturn, adding to the dazzling display in the night sky.
Amateur astronomers can use this opportunity to view the moon using a small telescope or pair of binoculars. This is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about the night sky. However, our satellite will be in its full moon phase, which is not the best time to see detail on the surface. Since the side of the moon facing Earth will be nearly entirely visible, this time does present backyard astronomers with a chance to see as much of the moon as possible in a single night.
At the exact moment of the strawberry moon, 12:19 p.m. on June 2, the moon was still beneath the horizon for people living in North America.
"As our Earth turns underneath the heavens tonight, look for this full moon, Saturn and Antares to move westward across the nighttime sky. The celestial threesome will climb highest up tonight around midnight, and will sit low in the west at dawn June 3," EarthSky reports.
The strawberry moon, the name given to the first full moon in June, is also sometimes known as the honey moon, because its position, low in the sky, can sometimes cause a warm amber color to be seen on our planetary companion.
The full moon seen each month is given a popular name, a tradition that dates back to the Native American cultures. The one in June gets its better-known name from the fruit, which is harvested in many areas of North America around this time. In Europe, where strawberries are not native, the June full moon is known as the rose moon.
June is also the most popular month for couples to get married, and many people choose to time their honeymoon during the honey moon.
Saturn is a favorite target of amateur astronomers old and young. Its magnificent ring system is visible in even small telescopes, providing a second target for families spending the evening observing the night sky.
The last strawberry moon was seen on Friday, June 13, 2014. This was the first honey moon seen on Friday the 13th since 1919, and it will be the last until 2098.
Photo: P S Jeremy | Flickr