Would you like honey with that strawberry?
Some are calling this month’s full moon the Strawberry Moon, and others have dubbed it the Honey Moon. Both denote a champagne-like hue that is common this time of year.
But one thing that is not in dispute is that this is the first June full moon to fall on Friday the 13th since 1919, and the last one until 2098, according to Universetoday.com. So the superstitious among us may want to ogle, then duck.
The June full moon occurs about a week before the summer solstice, and it follows the path of the winter sun, which means it sticks closer to the horizon than any other full moon of the year. This can make it appear bigger as well as give it a champagne-like cast, Earthsky.org tells us.
“The full moon, by definition, is opposite the sun,” Earthsky.org says. “Sun rides high in summer … full moon rides low. At every full moon, the moon stands more or less opposite the sun in our sky. That’s why the moon looks full. Around the world tonight, the moon will rise around sunset, climb to its highest point around midnight and set around sunrise.”
That technically happened on Thursday night. The full moon proper, or astronomical full moon—that is, the second the moon moved directly opposite the sun in relation to Earth—barely squeaked in on Friday the 13th, occurring just after midnight at precisely 12:11 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time. But it will still be just about as brilliant on the evening of the 13th as well, astronomers assure us.
“As far as the naked eye is concerned, the moon looks full for a day or two on either side of the exact ‘full’ phase,” says Space.com. “Only with a telescope can you see that the moon is being lit from a slight angle, causing the line of sunrise or sunset on the moon, called the terminator, to be very close to one edge or the other. The result is that any night this week will look like a ‘full moon night.’ ”
Adding to the honey moon’s allure, this month’s full moon happens to fall when the moon is closest to Earth, or at perigee, just 224,976 miles away, National Geographic tells us (as opposed to its farthest point, which is 252,088).
Two years ago, a partial eclipse took a bite out of the June full moon, known then as the Strawberry Moon.