News | June 1, 2020
June 2020: The Next Full Moon is the Strawberry Moon
The Next Full Moon is the Strawberry Moon, Mead Moon, Honey Moon, Vat Purnima, Poson Poya, and the LRO Moon.
The next full Moon will be on Friday afternoon, June 5, appearing opposite the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 3:12 PM EDT. The Moon will appear full for about 3 days around this time, from early Thursday morning into early Sunday morning.
The Moon will be close enough to opposite the Sun that it will pass through part of the partial shadow of the Earth, called a partial penumbral eclipse of the Moon. During this eclipse the Moon will not be in the sky for most of the Americas. If we could see the Moon, the slight dimming during this eclipse will not be noticeable without instrumentation. For spacecraft at the Moon such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the reduction in solar power is noticeable.
The Maine Farmer's Almanac first published "Indian" names for the full Moons in the 1930's. According to this Almanac, as the full Moon in June and the last full Moon of spring, the Algonquin tribes called this the Strawberry Moon. The name comes from the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in the north-eastern United States.
An old European name for this full Moon is the Mead Moon or the Honey Moon. Mead is a drink created by fermenting honey mixed with water, sometimes with fruits, spices, grains, or hops. In some countries Mead is also called Honey Wine (though in others Honey Wine is fermented differently than Mead). Some writings suggest that the time around the end of June was when honey was ripe and ready to be harvested from hives or from the wild, which made this the "sweetest" Moon. The word "honeymoon" traces back to at least the 1500's in Europe. The tradition of calling the first month of marriage the "honeymoon" may be tied to this full Moon, either because of the custom of marrying in June or because the "Honey Moon" is the "sweetest" Moon of the year.
Some consider this full Moon the Rose Moon, but I think this better fits the full Moon after next on July 5. Some sources indicate the name "Rose Moon" comes from the roses that bloom in late June. Others report that the name comes from the color of the full Moon this time of year. The orbit of the Moon around the Earth is almost in the same plane as the orbit of the Earth around the Sun (only about 5 degrees off). When the Sun appears highest in the sky near the summer solstice, the full Moon opposite the Sun generally appears lowest in the sky. For Europe's higher latitudes, the full Moon nearest the summer solstice shines through more atmosphere than at other times of the year, making it more likely to have a reddish color (for the same reasons that sunrises and sunsets are red). For 2020, the full Moon in early July is closer to the Summer Solstice and will be about 1.5 degrees lower in the sky than the full Moon in June.
Other seasonal names for this full Moon that I have found mentioned in various sources (sometimes with European and sometimes with Native American origins that I have not yet been able to check up on) are the Flower Moon, Hot Moon, Hoe Moon, and Planting Moon.
For Hindus this full Moon corresponds with Vat Purnima. During the 3 days of this full Moon married women will show their love for their husbands by tying a ceremonial thread around a banyan tree. The celebration is based on the legend of Savitri and Satyavan.
For Buddhists this full Moon is the Poson Poya. The Poson holiday in Sri Lanka celebrates the introduction of Buddhism in 236 BCE.
Another tribe has also given a name to this full Moon. This tribe is now geographically scattered but mostly lived in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. This tribe's language is primarily English, but with a liberal smattering of acronyms, arcane scientific and engineering terms, and Hawaiian phrases (cheerfully contributed by the Deputy Project Manager at the time). Comprised of people from all backgrounds, many of whom have gone on to join other tribes, this tribe was devoted to the study of the Moon. This tribe calls June's full Moon the LRO Moon, in honor of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft they launched towards the Moon 11 years ago on June 18, 2009, that is still sending home data providing new insights about our nearest neighbor in space, some of which help us to understand the history of our own planet.
See https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/main/index.html for more information.
In most lunisolar calendars the months change on or just after the new Moon and full Moons fall in the middle of the lunar months. This full Moon is the middle of Sivan in the Hebrew calendar. Since 12 lunar cycles are about 11 days shorter than a solar year, lunisolar calendars add a "leap" month as needed to keep in sync with the seasons. The Chinese lunisolar calendar uses solar terms to decide when to repeat a month. This full Moon is in the middle of one of these leap months, the second of two "fourth" months. In the Islamic calendar the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon a few days after the New Moon. This full Moon is near the middle of Shawwāl.
As usual, the wearing of suitably celebratory celestial attire is encouraged in honor of the full Moon.
The Longest Day — Summer Solstice on June 20
As spring ends and summer begins, the daily periods of sunlight reach their longest on the solstice, then begin to shorten again. Our 24-hour clock is based on the average length of the solar day throughout the year. Because the actual length of a solar day is longer near the solstices and shorter near the equinoxes, the earliest sunrises of the year occur before the summer solstice and the latest sunsets of the year occur after the solstice.
For the Washington, DC area (using the location of NASA Headquarters), on the day of the full Moon (Friday, June 5), morning twilight will begin at 4:32 AM EDT, sunrise will be at 5:43 AM, solar noon will be at 1:07 PM when the Sun reaches its maximum altitude of 73.8 degrees, sunset will be at 8:30 PM, and evening twilight will end at 9:42 PM. The earliest sunrise of the year will occur at 5:42:11 AM EDT on Saturday, June 13, with twilight starting at 4:30 AM. The longest solar day of the season will be from solar noon on Thursday, June 18, to solar noon on Friday, June 19, lasting about 13 seconds longer than 24 hours (the longest solar day of the year will be in December).
he Summer Solstice will be on Saturday, June 20, at 5:43 PM. This will be the day with the longest period of sunlight, 14 hours, 53 minutes, and 41.5 seconds. On the day of the solstice, morning twilight will begin at 4:30 AM, sunrise will be at 5:43 AM, solar noon will be at 1:10 PM when the Sun reaches its maximum altitude of 74.6 degrees (its highest for the year), sunset will be at 8:37 PM, and evening twilight will end at 9:49 PM. The latest sunset of the year will occur at 8:37:29 PM on Saturday, June 27, with twilight ending at 9:50 PM. By the day of the full Moon after next, Sunday, July 5, morning twilight will begin at 4:37 AM, sunrise will be at 5:49 AM, solar noon will be at 1:13 PM when the Sun reaches its maximum altitude of 73.8 degrees, sunset will be at 8:36 PM, and evening twilight will end at 9:48 PM.
Planet, Meteor and Star Sightings for June
As twilight ends on the evening of the full Moon on Friday, June 5, (at 9:42 PM EDT for the Washington, DC area), the planet Mercury will appear about 6 degrees above the horizon in the west-northwest. The bright star appearing nearest to directly overhead will be Arcturus, appearing (for Washington, DC and similar latitudes) 68 degrees above the horizon in the south-southeast. Also near to directly overhead will be the constellation Ursa Major, also known as the Great Bear or the Big Dipper. As the lunar cycle progresses, the background of stars and the planet Mercury will appear to shift towards the west. By Tuesday, June 16, Mercury will have set when evening twilight ends. By Thursday, June 25, the planet Jupiter will begin rising in the east-southeast as twilight ends.
By Monday, June 29, the planet Saturn will join Jupiter, appearing to the lower left of Jupiter at twilight's end.
By the evening of the full Moon after next on July 5, as evening twilight ends, the bright planet Jupiter and the fainter planet Saturn will appear in the east southeast, with Jupiter to the right about 7 degrees above the horizon and Saturn on the left about 4 degrees above the horizon. Arcturus will still be the highest in the sky of the brightest stars, appearing 63 degrees above the southwestern horizon. The three bright stars of the "Summer Triangle" will appear towards the east, with Vega appearing 55 degrees above the horizon in the east-northeast, Deneb about 35 degrees above the horizon to the lower left of Vega, and Altair in the east about 26 degrees above the horizon.
On the morning of the full Moon on Friday, June 5, as morning twilight begins (at 4:32 AM EDT for the Washington, DC area), the bright planet Jupiter and the fainter planet Saturn will appear about 5 degrees apart (Jupiter on the right) in the south at about 30 degrees above the horizon. Mars will appear in the southeast at about 29 degrees above the horizon. The bright star appearing closest to overhead (82 degrees above the northeastern horizon) will be Deneb, one of the three stars in the "Summer Triangle." As this lunar cycle progresses these planets and the background of stars will appear to shift towards the west (though not all at the same rate - Mars will appear to move more slowly).
After about June 10, the bright planet Venus will begin to emerge from the glow of dawn in the east-northeast, visible about 30 minutes before sunrise. On June 19 the waning crescent Moon will join Venus, appearing about half a degree from Venus low on the east-northeastern horizon. Venus will appear above the horizon at the time morning twilight begins after June 19.
By the morning of the full Moon on Saturday, July 5, as morning twilight begins (at 4:37 AM EDT for the Washington, DC area), four visible planets will be above the horizon (Neptune and Pluto will also be above the horizon but are not visible without a telescope). Venus will be the brightest, appearing about 11 degrees above the horizon in the east-southeast near the bright star Aldebaran. Next in brightness will be Jupiter appearing about 18 degrees above the horizon in the southwest. Saturn (the faintest of the four) will appear to the upper left of Jupiter at about 23 degrees above the horizon. Mars, third in brightness, will appear about 42 degrees above the horizon in the southeast.
On the nights of late June, if you happen to find yourself in a place with clear, dark skies away from city lights after the Moon has set, keep a look out for meteors. Most years the June Bootids meteor shower produces few if any visible meteors, but had surprising outbursts in 1998 and 2004. If there is any activity it is expected to be from June 22 to July 2 with a peak on June 27 at about 6 PM EDT (when it will be daytime in the Americas). Meteor showers are named for the constellations they appear to radiate out from. The constellation Bootis is far enough north that it will be in the sky almost all night from the mid latitudes northwards. This meteor shower is caused by debris from the comet 7P/Pons-Winnecke, which currently orbits outside the orbit of the Earth. These occasional outbursts suggest that this comet's orbit used to bring it closer to the Earth's orbit and that the Earth occasionally passes through streams of ancient cometary debris. The chances of an outburst are low, so I wouldn't plan a special trip, but if you happen to be in a dark place with clear, moonless skies, take a look just in case.
On Monday evening into early Tuesday morning, June 1 to 2 the bright star appearing below the waxing gibbous Moon will be Spica. The Moon will be near its highest in the sky for the night just after evening twilight ends. For the Washington, DC area, Spica will set around 3:15 AM EDT Tuesday morning with the Moon setting about 30 minutes later.
Even though they are not usually visible, I include in these Moon missives information about Near Earth Objects (mostly asteroids) that may pass the Earth within 5 lunar distances, because I find it interesting that we have discovered so many. On Tuesday morning, June 2, at 5:43 AM EDT (2020-Jun-02 09:43 UTC), Near Earth Object (2020 KK7), between 15 and 33 meters (48 to 107 feet) across, will pass the Earth at 1.3 lunar distances, traveling at 15.17 kilometers per second (33,940 miles per hour).
Tuesday night, June 2, at 11:39 PM EDT, the Moon will be at perigee, its closest to the Earth for this orbit.
On Wednesday afternoon, June 3, the planet Venus will pass between the Earth and the Sun, called inferior conjunction. Planets that orbit inside of the Earth can have two types of conjunctions with the Sun, inferior (when passing between the Earth and the Sun) and superior (when passing on the far side of the Sun as seen from the Earth). Venus will be shifting from the evening sky to the morning sky and should begin emerging from the glow of dawn on the eastern horizon after about June 10.
Thursday evening into Friday morning, June 4 to 5, the bright star appearing below the full Moon will be Antares. For the Washington, DC area, as evening twilight ends, the Moon will appear about 20 degrees above the horizon in the southeast, with Antares about 8 degrees below the Moon. The Moon will reach its highest in the sky early Friday morning at 12:33 AM EDT, and morning twilight will begin at 4:32 AM.
As mentioned above, the next full Moon will be on Friday afternoon, June 5, with the Moon appearing opposite the Sun in Earth-based longitude at 3:12 PM EDT. The Moon will pass through part of the shadow of the Earth, causing a partial penumbral eclipse of the Moon that we will not be able to see from North America.
On Sunday night into Monday morning, June 7 to 8, the bright planet Jupiter will appear to the left of the waning gibbous Moon, with the planet Saturn appearing farther to the left. For the Washington, DC area, the Moon will rise in the east-southeast at 10:43 PM EDT, Jupiter will rise about 8 degrees to the lower left of the Moon at 11:03 PM, and Saturn will rise at 11:20 PM. The Moon will reach its highest in the sky for the night Monday morning at 3:29 AM, when Jupiter will appear to the upper left of the Moon. Morning twilight will begin around 4:31 AM.
On Monday afternoon, June 8, at about 6 PM EDT (2020-Jun-08 21:57 UTC with 11 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2020 KZ3), between 15 and 34 meters (50 to 112 feet) across, will pass the Earth at 3.2 lunar distances, traveling at 5.99 kilometers per second (13,390 miles per hour).
On Monday night into Tuesday morning, June 8 to 9, the waning gibbous Moon will appear below the planets Jupiter and Saturn. For the Washington, DC area, Jupiter will rise in the east-southeast Monday night at 10:59 PM EDT, Saturn will rise to the lower left of Jupiter at 11:16 PM, and the Moon will rise (to the lower right of Saturn and lower left of Jupiter) at 11:33 PM. The Moon will reach its highest in the sky Tuesday morning at 4:24 AM, when Saturn will appear to the upper right of the Moon (with Jupiter further to the right). Morning twilight will begin about 7 minutes later at 4:31 AM.
On Saturday morning, June 13, the planet Mars will appear above the waning half-Moon. For the Washington, DC area, Mars will rise in the east at 1:27 AM EDT and the Moon will rise about 3 degrees below Mars at 1:46 AM. The waning Moon will appear half-full as it reaches its last quarter at 2:24 AM EDT. Morning twilight will begin at 4:30 AM and (for the Washington, DC area and similar latitudes, at least) the earliest sunrise of the year will occur at 5:42 AM.
On Saturday afternoon, June 13, within a few hours of 6 PM EDT (2020-Jun-13 21:41 UTC with 2 hours, 51 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2020 KB3), between 35 and 78 meters (115 to 257 feet) across, will pass the Earth at between 3.1 and 3.2 lunar distances (nominally 3.1), traveling at 7.54 kilometers per second (16,866 miles per hour).
Sometime around mid-June, 2020, (2020-Jun-14 13:10 UTC with 4 days, 10 hours, 36 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2017 MF7), between 18 and 39 meters (58 to 129 feet) across, will pass the Earth at between 0.9 and 13.5 lunar distances (nominally 3.7), traveling at 10.92 kilometers per second (24,436 miles per hour).
On Sunday evening, June 14, at 8:57 PM EDT, the Moon will be at apogee, its farthest from the Earth for this orbit.
On Tuesday morning, June 16, at about 6:30 AM EDT (2020-Jun-16 10:36 UTC with 22 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2020 KP6), between 28 and 62 meters (91 to 204 feet) across, will pass the Earth at 3.6 lunar distances, traveling at 10.76 kilometers per second (24,069 miles per hour).
The longest solar day of the season will be from solar noon on Thursday, June 18, to solar noon on Friday, June 19, lasting about 13 seconds longer than 24 hours. This will not be the longest solar day of the year as some solar days in December will be longer.
Friday morning, June 19, the thin, waning crescent Moon will appear low on the east-northeastern horizon about half a degree to the lower left of the bright planet Venus. This will be the first morning when Venus will be above the horizon at the time morning twilight begins (at 4:30 AM EDT for the Washington, DC area). The pair may be hard to see, unless you have a very clear view, because as they rise above the obstructions most of us have blocking the horizon, the brightening sky will make viewing more difficult. Further north (e.g., from Boston, MA), the Moon will actually block Venus from view, and viewers from these areas may be able to see Venus reappear from behind the Moon.
The Summer Solstice, the astronomical end of Spring and start of Summer, will be on Saturday afternoon, June 20, at 5:43 PM EDT. This will be the day with the longest period of daylight (14 hours, 53 minutes, 42 seconds for the Washington, DC area).
Early Sunday morning, June 21, at 2:42 AM EDT, will be the new Moon, when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and is not normally visible. However, the silhouette of the Moon will be visible from much of Africa, southeastern Europe, and Asia, as the Moon passes in front of the Sun, causing an eclipse. Because the Moon is near its farthest from the Earth in its orbit, the Moon will not completely block the Sun, but a narrow stripe from Africa to the Pacific Ocean will see the Moon in front of the Sun (blocking 99.4% of the Sun at its peak in northern India) such that only a bright ring is visible.
The day of or the day after the New Moon marks the start of the new month for most lunisolar calendars. The fifth month of the Chinese calendar starts on Sunday, June 21(at midnight in China's time zone, which is 12 hours ahead of EDT).
Sunday evening, June 21, if you have a very clear view of the horizon in the west-northwest, you might be able to see the very thin crescent Moon to the right of the planet Mercury. You will need to look while the sky is still bright with dusk before the Moon and Mercury set (at 9:15 and 9:19 PM EDT, respectively). You may need binoculars to see them. If you do use binoculars, be sure not to look until well after sunset, as using magnifying glasses to focus sunlight into your eyes is bad, bad, bad...
In the Islamic calendar the months start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon after the New Moon. Since we expect the Moon to be visible (at least with a telescope or binoculars), Sunday evening, June 21, will probably mark the beginning of Dhu al-Qadah.
Sundown on Monday, June 22, marks the start of Tammuz in the Hebrew lunisolar calendar.
Sometime in the latter part of June, 2020, (2020-Jun-22 10:45 UTC with 7 days, 21 hours, 48 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2008 XB2), between 25 and 57 meters (83 to 186 feet) across, will pass the Earth at between 1.8 and 131.3 lunar distances (nominally 62.5), traveling at 15.85 kilometers per second (35,464 miles per hour).
On Monday evening, June 22, if you have a clear view of the horizon in the west-northwest, you might be able to see the thin, waxing crescent Moon with the bright star Pollux to the upper right. For the Washington, DC area, evening twilight will end around 9:50 PM EDT and the Moon will set just 19 minutes later.
Thursday, June 25, will be the fifth day of the fifth month of the traditional Chinese calendar, the day of the Dragon Boat Festival. See for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Boat_Festival for more information.
Sometime towards the end of June, 2020, (2020-Jun-25 14:43 UTC with 5 days, 16 hours, 53 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2017 FW128), between 8 and 19 meters (28 to 62 feet) across, will pass the Earth at between 3.2 and 12.6 lunar distances (nominally 6.8), traveling at 5.45 kilometers per second (12,187 miles per hour).
On Thursday evening, June 25, the bright star Regulus will appear to the lower right of the waxing crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC area, evening twilight will end at about 9:50 PM EDT and Regulus will set in the west-northwest at about 11:40 PM, with the Moon setting about 34 minutes later.
June 27 - The Latest Sunset of the Year
For Washington, DC and similar latitudes, at least, the latest sunset of the year will be on Saturday evening, June 27 (at 8:37 PM EDT).
On Sunday morning, June 28, the Moon will appear half-full as it reaches its first quarter at 4:16 AM EDT (a time when North America will not be able to see the Moon).
Sometime around midnight between Sunday and Monday, June 28 and 29, (2020-Jun-29 04:13 UTC with 1 hour, 21 minutes uncertainty), Near Earth Object (2020 JX1), between 44 and 99 meters (145 to 324 feet) across, will pass the Earth at 3.3 lunar distances, traveling at 5.00 kilometers per second (11,182 miles per hour).
Monday evening, June 29, at 10:13 PM EDT, the Moon will be at perigee, its closest to the Earth for this orbit.
Tuesday evening, June 30, the planet Mercury will be passing between the Earth and the Sun as seen from the Earth, called inferior conjunction. Mercury will be shifting from the evening sky to the morning sky and will begin emerging from the glow of dawn on the eastern horizon around July 8 (depending upon viewing conditions).
On Thursday night, July 3, the bright star Antares will appear to the lower right of the waxing nearly-full Moon.
July 4 - Earth is Farthest from the Sun (Aphelion)
Saturday morning, July 4, at 7:35 AM EDT, the Earth will be at aphelion, its farthest from the Sun in its year-long orbit. The Earth will be 3.4% farther from the Sun than it was at perihelion in early January. Since light intensity drops off as the square of the distance from the light source, the sunlight reaching the Earth at aphelion will be about 6.5% less bright than sunlight reaching the Earth at perihelion.
July 5: The Full Moon After Next
The full Moon after next will be early Sunday morning, July 5, appearing opposite the Sun at 12:44 AM EDT. This too will be a partial penumbral eclipse of the Moon, visible from most of North America, but the slight reduction in the Moon's brightness will be difficult to notice with the human eye.