The Delta Aquariid meteor shower won’t begin until mid-July, but there’s another reason to gaze skyward in just a couple of days: the strawberry full moon. Read on to find out what it is and when you should plan to glance out your window this week.
What Is a Strawberry Moon?
As Lifehacker explains, the strawberry moon is either the last full moon of spring or the first full moon of summer, depending on whether it falls before or after that year’s summer solstice. (Though if you’re going by summer’s meteorological start date, June 1, the strawberry moon probably won’t ever occur early enough to be during spring.)
The Maine-based Farmer’s Almanac reported back in the 1930s that the strawberry moon got its name from the Algonquin, who lived in the northeastern part of the U.S. and saw that the moon coincided with June’s strawberry-picking season. It’s not the only moniker for this particular full moon: In Europe, it’s been called the “mead moon” and the “honey moon,” among others.
When Is the Next Strawberry Moon?
This year, the strawberry moon is the first full moon of summer, and it’ll be at its fullest on Thursday, June 24, at 2:40 p.m. EST. If that’s the middle of the afternoon wherever you are, don’t worry—according to NASA, it’ll look full from Wednesday morning, June 23, through Saturday morning, June 26, so you can catch it on any night during that time frame.
As for whether this strawberry moon is a supermoon or not, it depends on whom you ask. For NASA, a full moon has to peak within 90 percent of its perigee—the point in its orbit when it’s closest to Earth—to be considered a supermoon. The upcoming full moon slightly misses that mark, so NASA has deemed it a “marginal supermoon.” Since supermoons are especially close to Earth, they look a little larger and brighter than other full moons (though you may not pick up on the difference unless you’re comparing side-by-side photos).