Venus and a Strawberry Moon Will Brighten Skies This Weekend

A strawberry moon rising over the Manhattan skyline.
A strawberry moon rising over the Manhattan skyline. / Claire Gentile/Moment/Getty Images

With the summer solstice arriving on June 21, this month will see the longest days of the year. The sun is setting later, but stargazers who stay up to see the night sky will be rewarded. As Travel + Leisure reports, a strawberry moon coincides with Venus’s greatest eastern elongation on June 3.

Venus is the brightest planet in our solar system, and this weekend it will look especially brilliant. As the sun sets this Saturday, the planet will appear 45 degrees east of it, which marks its greatest possible distance from the sun’s position in the twilight sky. Just after sunset is the best time to see the Evening Star as it rises above the western horizon. If you miss its maximum elongation, the second planet from the sun will continue to shine brightly through mid-August.

June 3 comes with a bonus celestial event: a full strawberry moon. Despite its colorful name, the strawberry moon won’t necessarily look different from the last full moon you saw. The moniker comes from the fact that it’s the first—and this month, only—full moon of June, the month that kicks off strawberry-picking season in North America. 

If you want to see it, look for it in the eastern sky opposite the setting sun. The midsummer moon will stay close to the horizon as the night progresses. (The higher the sun’s path during the day the lower the moon will hang in the sky at night, and vice versa throughout the year.) Otherwise, you can wait a few weeks to catch July’s buck moon, which also happens to be one of four supermoons in 2023. 

To some astronomy fans, this weekend’s spectacles are just a warm-up for the big event on June 21. Here’s everything you need to know about the summer solstice.