If you happen to gaze up at the night sky tonight you’ll see a mini Strawberry Moon.
So what exactly does that mean?
What’s a Strawberry Moon?
June’s full moon is also known as the “Strawberry Moon.”
The fruity moniker doesn’t actually have anything to do with the moon’s color, shape or size. The Strawberry Moon celebrates the coming of prime strawberry-picking season, which reaches its peak in June, according to Space.com. Strawberries are one of the earliest fruits to ripen, second only to rhubarb. With this in mind, the Algonquin Native American tribes lent this month’s full moon its nickname as a reminder to pick the quintessential summer fruit come June.
Why is it a “minimoon”?
There’s a very straightforward explanation: The Strawberry Moon is a bit smaller than the other full moons, due its changing position in relation to the Earth. According to Space.com, the June full moon coincides almost exactly with the apogee — the annual point in time when the moon is farthest from the Earth — popping up just 14 hours and 40 minutes after this moment. This places the Strawberry Moon about 252,445 miles from Earth, causing it to appear about 14% smaller than the moon does at its largest point.
How to see the Strawberry Moon
So when’s the best time to spot this annual sign of summer?
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the fullest point passed Friday morning at 9:10 a.m. Eastern, when the sun and moon were on completely opposite sides of the Earth.
If you missed it, don’t fret. The Strawberry Moon will still appear completely full for the entire day after the peak, too. You should be able to catch the moon wherever you are Friday night, permitting clouds, but check out this light-pollution map to find the clearest stargazing spot near you.