Friday, June 09th, will be coming with a once-a-year astronomical event as sky gazers will be able to enjoy the so-called minimoon or Strawberry Moon. This is a rather different type of full moon, as instead of appearing larger than usual as, during a supermoon, it will seem slightly smaller than normal.
The Strawberry Moon will reach its fullest phase at 1309 GMT or 09:09 a.m. EDT. At the time, it will be below the horizon for watchers in the continental U.S. The best view of the minimoon, for them, will be either before or after the peak.
However, sky gazers in some parts of Alaska and those rising early in Hawaii may be able to enjoy the full spectacle. To ensure their best view of the minimoon, those interested should consult a moonrise and moonset calculator.
The Minimoon is Clear, But Why Strawberry Moon?
June’s full moon received its “minimoon” name because of its position near or at the apogee. This marks the point in the natural satellite’s orbit in which it is the farthest away from the sun. It is in perfect opposition to a supermoon. During such events, the moon is at perigee or its closest orbit point to our planet.
Minimoons are generally slightly less luminous than a regular full moon. When compared to a supermoon, they also appear around 14 percent smaller.
“The difference between the largest and smallest full moon is only 4 arcminutes, near the limit of what the naked eye can detect,” states Ernie Wright, a lead visualizer at the NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.
The June full moon also comes with many names, all according to local traditions and lore. One of its most famous appellations is the “Strawberry Moon”. This is common among some of the native people of northeastern U.S. as it marks the ripening moment of wild strawberries in their regions.
As this event differs according to region, the name is hardly universal, so others call it the “Rose Moon” (European colonists) or the “Moon of Horses” (Celtic tradition), among others.
The minimoon is once a year only event, so those that cannot watch it at its apogee should at least check it out around 15 hours before or after this period. Also, the next chance of gazing at a “micro moon” will be on July 27, 2018.
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