In Photos: The ‘Super Strawberry Moon’ Sparkles As Summer’s First, Biggest And Brightest Full Moon Hangs Low
The final “supermoon” of 2021 was yesterday captured around the world as the “Super Strawberry Moon” made a dramatic appearance in some iconic locations.
The first full Moon of the northern hemisphere’s summer 2021 was also its biggest and brightest because it was also the final of four “supermoons” this year.
A supermoon occurs while our satellite is at the closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit—it’s perigee. That happens once every month because the Moon has a slightly elliptical orbit around Earth, but only rarely does it coincide with a full Moon.
Astronomers call it not a supermoon, but a perigee full Moon. It was fully illuminated by the Sun at 18:40 UTC on Thursday, June 24, 2021.
June’s full Moon was also the lowest-hanging of the year in the northern hemisphere. The Moon orbits roughly on the same plane as the Sun—the ecliptic—which is high in the day and low in the night as seen from northerly latitudes at this time of year.
The position of the “Strawberry Moon” in June’s night sky therefore always mimics the position of the Sun in the January daytime sky.
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Full Moons are best seen at moonrise where you are. If you want to see one, consult a moon calculator to get the precise times of moonrise for your exact location.
You’ll typically have to wait an extra 10 minutes or so to see the full Moon appear on in the east. To maximise your chance be at a location that has a clear view low to the eastern horizon.
The full Moon is often blamed when hospital emergency rooms or birth wards get busy, but dozens of studies show that the belief is unfounded. The Moon has zero influence on the timing of births, hospital admissions, road traffic accidents, menstruation, depression, violent behavior or criminal activity. Lunacy!
However, there was some evidence recently that the extra light at night during the week of the full Moon may have an effect on sleep patterns. During the three to five nights before the night of full Moon it took participants in a study in Argentina longer to get to sleep. They also slept for the least amount of time during this period.
Keeping NASA awake at night is whether humans will ever return to the Moon. The last crewed mission to the Moon was in 1972. NASA originally planned for ten Moon landings—Apollo 11 through Apollo 20—but the program stalled at Apollo 17. Apollo 17’s late Gene Cernan was the last human to walk on the Moon.
Returning people to the Moon has not been prioritized over the 49 years since, and NASA’s budget vastly reduced, but the space agency does have plans to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon inside three years.
The Artemis 3 mission is scheduled to touchdown at the Moon’s South Pole—where no human has ever been before—during 2024. Artemis is the name of the twin sister of Apollo, the goddess of Moon in ancient Greek religion and myth.
The “Super Strawberry Moon” was the first of four full Moons this season, which sets-up a “seasonal Blue Moon” in August. Defined as the third full Moon in any one season, the “Strawberry Moon” occurring very early in summer—which officially began with solstice on June 21, 2021—means that the rise of the “Sturgeon Moon” on August 22, 2021 will officially be a “Blue Moon.”
Before that there’s another full Moon—the “Thunder Moon” or “Buck Moon”—both traditional names in North America for July’s full Moon.
Our satellite will appear 100% lit by the Sun on July 24, 2021, though dusk the previous evening—July 23, 2021—will be the best time watch it appear on the eastern horizon.