Hot on the heels of the summer solstice, June’s full Strawberry Moon — appearing at the beginning of the sunniest and warmest months of the year — is slightly unusual this month.
The exact moment of the full moon occurs either side of midnight in North America, being fully illuminated on June 27 on the west coast and on June 28 on the east coast.
What is a Strawberry Moon?
It looks like a strawberry, right? Nope. It won't be red or juicy, because the so-called Strawberry Moon got its meaning by appearing around the time in North America when wild strawberries begin to ripen. Like many of the names for full moons, this one dates back to Native Americans, in this case to the Algonquin, the first native peoples encountered by European settlers in the New World.
Other names for June's full moon include the Hot Moon for its association with the year's highest temperatures, and the Rose Moon for coinciding with blooming flowers.
When is the Full Strawberry Moon?
The full moon will be at its peak on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 at 9:53 p.m PT (on the west coast) and on Thursday, June 28, 2018 at 12:53 a.m. ET (on the east coast). Unlike last month, when the full Flower Moon occurred during daylight hours for observers in North America, the full Strawberry Moon can easily be viewed at the exact moment is becomes 100% illuminated. However, that is not the best time to look at it.
How to See the Strawberry Moon
The best time to see the full moon is 8:05 p.m. ET on the east coast, and 7:51 p.m. PT on the west coast. Although you can look at the moon when it's high in the sky, you will have trouble if the skies are completely clear because of glare. When it's in its full phase, the moon is incredibly bright and almost impossible to look at for more than a few seconds.
Like every full moon, this one will be best observed not when it's high in the sky, but as it rises at dusk. The moon will rise at 8:05 p.m. in New York, with sunset at 8:31 p.m. In Los Angeles moonrise will occur at 7:51 p.m., and sunset at 8:08 p.m. So across North America, the full Strawberry Moon will appear before the sun goes down.
Look for the Strawberry Moon at dusk, and keep looking for 15 minutes to give the Earth time to rotate a little to reveal the full moon. The higher your observation point, and the fewer buildings and cloud are obstructing the horizon, the sooner you'll see it. Since the moon will rise just before sunset, it will be a good opportunity to take photographs.
As the moon pokes above the horizon, it will be a delicate orange color. It's a hypnotic sight indeed and the easiest time to look at it, but as it rises higher into the sky it will quickly change to yellow, and then to white as it becomes too bright to look at comfortably.
When Is the Next Full Moon?
The next full moon will be on July 27, 2018, and it's going to be a very special one indeed. It's called the Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Hay Moon, though in 2018 it will also be a Blood Moon or total lunar eclipse much like the Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse seen in the U.S. in January. Not only will the moon turn a copper orange color, but it will do so for the longest time in the 21st century, spending an hour and 42 minutes in totality. However, none of that will be observable from North America because it occurs during daytime. Those on the night side of Earth in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia will all get a great view.
However, those in North America do not have long to wait because the next Blood Moon is on January 20, 2019.