What is a Strawberry Moon? The meaning behind June 2019 full moon, and when to see it

Friday, 14th June 2019, 09:13 am
Updated Friday, 14th June 2019, 14:44 pm

This week will see a so-called ‘Strawberry Moon’ rising over the skies of the UK.

In previous months, we've witnessed Snow Moons, Wolf Moons and even a Pink Moon.

Now another dazzling bright full moon is in store on the night of 17 June, but what is the Strawberry Moon and how can you see it?

What is the Strawberry Moon?

Despite its name, the moon is unlikely to be turning a hue of strawberry red.

In recent years, traditional Native American names for the full moons have become more common in modern day parlance.

According to the Maine Farmer's Almanac - which first published the Native American names for the full Moons in the 1930's - the name comes from the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in northeastern North America.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

The name is applied to the full Moon in June or the last full Moon of Spring, but the same full moon went under many other traditional names in other parts of the world.

One old European name for June's was the Honey Moon, and it's believed that this is where the team 'honeymoon' may have come from.

The marital phrase dates back to at least the 1500's, and it's thought it sprang up due to the custom of marrying in June, and the fact the Honey Moon will have been in the sky around the time of a lot of nuptials.

Will the moon be red?

The traditional Native American name for June's full moon suggests it may be turning a shade of red, but surely that's not the case?

While the moon won't be as colourful as ripe strawberry, it may actually change colour slightly, if you live further north.

The Moon orbits around the Earth on almost the exact same plane as the Earth orbits around the Sun. That means that when the Sun appears highest in the sky near the summer solstice in June, the full Moon opposite our nearest star is generally at its lowest in the sky.

At Europe's higher latitudes - unfortunately the UK is entirely too low to see the phenomenon - this means the full Moon shines through more atmosphere than at other times of the year, which can sometimes give it a reddish tint; it's the same science that makes sunsets and sunrises appear a deep shade of red.

When can I see it?

The full moon will be in the night sky on the evening of Monday 17 June.

While the moon will technically be at its fullest at 9.30 am on that day, it won't be visible at all in the sky, having previously set at around 4.54am.

It will rise again at around 9.30pm and won’t set again until about 5.39am the next morning, meaning it will be visible in all its glory throughout the night – clear skies permitting of course.

This story first appeared on our sister site, inews