Big news for Athens stargazers: Strawberry Moon's peak illumination is Friday

Something sweet is happening later this week − the Strawberry Moon, and it's going to be particularly special.

For the first time since 1985, the full moon lands right on the summer solstice. That's when the sun hits the northernmost point from the celestial equator and marks the official beginning of summer with the longest day of the year.

Here are quick facts about the Strawberry Moon sky watchers can snack on as it soars across the heavens.

When is the full moon in June 2024?

The Strawberry Moon will shine at peak illumination on Friday, June 21. The moon's phases in June are:

  • 🌑 New Moon: June 6.

  • 🌓 First Quarter: June 14.

  • 🌕 Full Moon: June 21.

  • 🌗 Last Quarter: June 28.

Why is it called the Strawberry Moon?

June’s full moon is typically the last full moon of spring or the first of summer. Similar to the Pink Moon, June's Strawberry Moon takes its name from seasonal plant growth, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac. Many ripening berries were ready to be harvested around this time in the northeastern United States.

Other names for June's full moon from Native American tribes include the Birth Moon, Hot Moon, Blooming Moon, and the Green Corn Moon.

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When is the best time to see the full moon in June 2024?

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the moonrise for the Athens area will be at 9:01 p.m. Friday, June 21, crossing the meridian at 12:47 a.m. before setting at 6:32 a.m. Saturday.

Why does the moon sometimes appear red?

You may have noticed the moon will occasionally take on a dramatic shade of orange or red in the night sky. That's because of how sunlight strikes the moon's surface after passing through our atmosphere.

When the moon moves into the inner part of Earth's shadow, or umbra, according to NASA, some of the sunlight entering Earth's skies scatters before reaching the moon's surface.

Colors with shorter wavelengths, such as blues and violets, scatter more easily than colors with longer wavelengths, which include red and orange. The more dust or clouds in Earth's atmosphere during a lunar eclipse, the redder the moon appears.

When is the next full moon of 2024?

The Buck Moon is set to charge into the sky on Sunday, July 21.


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Astronomical events happening in June 2024

Skywatchers, according to NASA, should keep the following dates in mind for June 2024.

June 3: The crescent Moon sits beneath Mars in morning twilight. Look for them low in the eastern sky.

June 6: New moon.

June 21: Full moon.

June 24: Jupiter is now visible low in the east before sunrise. Look for the bright planet around 10 degrees above the horizon this final week of June, forming a line with Mars and Saturn that stretches toward the south.

June 27: Look for the Moon rising in the east with Saturn around midnight. By dawn this morning, you'll find them high in the southern sky. They appear super close together – close enough to appear in the same field of view through binoculars.

This article originally appeared on Athens Banner-Herald: Rare strawberry moon, summer solstice over Athens on Friday, June 21