Look up this weekend! Strawberry Moon will peak on Sunday

Look up this weekend! Strawberry Moon will peak on Sunday morning – how and when to see the lunar phenomenon

  • The Strawberry Moon is set to peak at 04:41 BST on Sunday morning (June 4)
  • Term doesn’t refer to the moon’s colour although it will take on a golden hue 
  • April’s Pink Moon wowed skygazers from Stonehenge to Athens and California 

The Strawberry Moon is nearly upon us which means summer really is just around the corner. 

Simply referring to the moon when it has reached full illumination in June, the Strawberry Moon will peak at 04:41 BST on Sunday morning (June 4). 

Just like the Flower Moon last month, our natural satellite will appear as a gorgeous shimmering orb, with a gentle golden hue. 

A full moon occurs once every 29.5 days – the length of time it takes for our lunar neighbour to go through a whole lunar cycle.  

When the full moon arrives in June, astronomers give it the name ‘Strawberry Moon’ because it marks the time when the berries are ripe for picking. 

This year, the Strawberry Moon will peak at at 04:41 on Sunday morning. Pictured, the Strawberry Moon of 2020, as seen from Spain  

The Strawberry ‘supermoon’ rises up in the hazy evening sky from behind St Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Tor in Somerset, June 2021

According to the Met Office, the clearer skies around the time of the peak at 04:41 on Sunday will be in the west of the UK. 

READ MORE: Stunning photos show the Pink Moon in April

The Pink Moon rises over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

‘There’s likely to be a bit more in the way of cloud further east, especially near the coast, so visibility could be restricted in these areas, as well as parts of central England,’ a Met Office spokesperson told MailOnline. 

‘For many though, it will be a clear morning, with little in the way of thick cloud cover.’ 

It’s a common misconception that the name ‘Strawberry Moon’ refers to the moon’s colour – or any kind of resemblance to the popular summer fruit.

Whenever the full moon appears, it is given a nickname depending on the month of the year – a tradition that goes back hundreds of years. 

So January is Wolf Moon, February is Snow Moon, March is Worm Moon, April is Pink Moon, May is Flower Moon and so on.

The names can be especially confusing as the moon does often appear to take on different colours hues, although this is a trick of the light and usually depends on how low it is on the horizon.

‘A red or yellow colored moon usually indicates a moon seen near the horizon,’ NASA says. 

‘There, some of the blue light has been scattered away by a long path through the Earth’s atmosphere, sometimes laden with fine dust. 

‘A blue-colored moon is more rare and can indicate a moon seen through an atmosphere carrying larger dust particles.’ 

It’s a common misconception that the name ‘Strawberry Moon’ refers to the moon’s colour – or any resemblance to the popular summer fruit. The Strawberry Moon is pictured over Edinburgh, Scotland

The Strawberry Moon, the full moon of the month of June, rises over the ocean on Narrawallee Beach, near Mollymook on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia, June 2020

Strawberry Moon is seen as vehicles are on their way on a highway at early morning in Ankara, Turkey, June 2021

Because a full moon occurs once every 29.5 days – slightly less than a month – sometimes two full moons occur in the space of one calendar month. 

This infrequent astronomical event known as a ‘blue moon’ normally happens about every two or three years – hence the phrase ‘once in a blue moon’. 

The next blue moon takes place on August 31 this year, and it will also be a ‘supermoon’, which is a full moon that appears bigger than usual. 

In 2023, there will be four supermoons, which will all take place during either summer or autumn – July 3, August 1, August 31 (the one that’s also a blue moon) and September 29.

According to EarthSky, the moon on August 31 will be 222,043 miles away from Earth, closer than any of the other three supermoons for 2023, so it should be especially big and bright – and not one to miss. 

Full moon, supermoon, pink moon: What’s the difference?  

A FULL MOON  is the phase of the moon in which its whole disc is illuminated.

During the 29.5-day lunar cycle, we observe a new moon (with 0 per cent illumination), a waxing moon (when the amount of illumination on the moon is increasing), a full moon (100 per cent illumination) and then a waning moon (when its visible surface area is getting smaller).

Because our modern calendar isn’t quite in line with the Moon’s phases, sometimes we get more than one full Moon in a month. This is commonly known as a blue moon. 

Meanwhile, a SUPERMOON  is when the full moon nearly coincides with perigee – the point in the orbit of the moon at which it is nearest to the Earth.

This means a supermoon can appear as much as 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than when it’s furthest away from Earth. 

There are about three or four supermoons per year, most astronomy websites claim, and they happen at different times each year. 

In a nutshell, a supermoon is a full moon. But it’s bigger and brighter than a normal full moon. 

Lastly, PINK MOON simply refers to the time of the year the full moon is appearing.

This name does not refer to the moon’s colour, but rather is a reference to a wildflower called moss pink (Phlox subulata) which blooms around the same time.  

‘Pink’ is the common name for April’s full moon as historically it heralded the appearance of moss pink (Phlox subulata)

Different months of the year have different nicknames – so January is Wolf Moon, February is Snow Moon, March is Worm Moon, April is Pink Moon, May is Flower Moon, June is Strawberry Moon and so on.  

Full moon names were historically used to track the seasons and therefore are closely related to nature. 

If a supermoon appears in April, it will be referred to as a ‘pink supermoon’. 

The full list of full moon nicknames: 

January: Wolf Moon because wolves were heard more often at this time.

February: Snow Moon to coincide with heavy snow.

March: Worm Moon as the Sun increasingly warmed the soil and earthworms became active.

April: Pink Moon as it heralded the appearance of Phlox subulata or moss pink – one of spring’s first flowers.

May: Flower Moon because of the abundance of blossoms.

June: Strawberry Moon because it appeared when the strawberry harvest first took place.

July: Buck Moon as it arrived when a male deer’s antlers were in full growth mode.

August: Sturgeon Moon after the large fish that was easily caught at this time.

September: Corn Moon because this was the time to harvest corn.

October: Hunter’s Moon after the time to hunt in preparation for winter.

November: Beaver Moon because it was the time to set up beaver traps.

December: Cold Moon because nights at this time of year were the longest.

Source: Old Farmer’s Almanac   

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