Sunday, June 04, 2023
Prepare to witness the breathtaking illumination of the strawberry moon as it graces the night sky this weekend. This celestial event, known as the last full moon of spring and sometimes the first of summer, will captivate stargazers with its radiant presence.
To catch the full moon in all its glory, simply look towards the southeast just after sunset. According to NASA, the moon will reach its peak illumination at 11:42 pm on Saturday and remain visibly full for three days. For precise local timings, you can use The Old Farmer's Almanac's full moon calculator and check the local weather forecast for optimal viewing conditions.
Contrary to its name, the strawberry moon's title does not stem from its appearance or colour. Instead, Native American tribes coined the name to signify the ripening of "June-bearing" strawberries, signifying an abundant time for harvest. The Old Farmer's Almanac explains that as flowers bloom and early fruits ripen, June becomes a season of great abundance for many.
This year, moon gazers in specific regions will enjoy an additional celestial treat. Individuals located in Argentina and the Atlantic Daylight Time zones, extending across North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia to the International Date Line, will witness the presence of Antares, the brightest star in the Scorpius constellation, positioned a few degrees to the right of the moon.
Adding to the celestial spectacle, two remarkable planets will grace the dusk sky on Saturday. Venus, appearing as a brilliant object near the horizon, will be visible in the west. Next to Venus, Mars will be visible after dark, presenting itself as a faint reddish star positioned slightly above Venus.
In different regions, the June full moon holds various cultural and traditional significance. In European folklore, it has been called the honeymoon, as June traditionally marked the month of marriage and is associated with the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. For followers of Hinduism, the full moon and its three-day visibility symbolise Vat Purnima, a time when women express love for their husbands by tying ceremonial threads around banyan trees.
Embrace the enchantment of the strawberry moon, as it not only illuminates the night sky but also carries cultural and historical symbolism for diverse communities around the world.