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Rare 'Strawberry Moon' Marked This Year's Summer Solstice, A First in 68 Years

Jun 23, 2016 05:55 AM EDT
Strawberry Moon Rises Over Glastonbury Tor
When a full moon and a summer solstice coincide, the result is called a "strawberry moon" where an amber-colored moon lit up the sky. Although the name suggests, the moon isn't really reddish-pink like the fruit, the name was derived from traditions during the olden times that when a summer solstice and a full moon occurred at the same time, its a sign to start harvesting the fruit.
(Photo : Matt Cardy/Getty Images)


Apparently, "strawberry moons" do exist. This year's summer solstice was marked with the rare appearance of the strawberry moon when it coincided with the longest day of the year.




Some say that the strawberry moon is rarer than the blue moon, and the last one occurred 68 years ago. A strawberry moon is a celestial event when the summer solstice occurs at the same time with a full moon. Legends say that the named was derived from older traditions that when a summer solstice and a full moon occurred at the same time, it signals the start of the harvest season of the fruit, according to Science Daily.

The cosmic event happened last June 20 and the strawberry moon was visible in the sky for nine hours. Viewers rushed to different places to witness the event, including the Stonehenge, considered one of the most popular places to watch the strawberry moon. 

"By landing exactly on the solstice, this full moon doesn't just rise as the sun sets but is opposite the sun in all other ways too," explains Bob Berman of the Old Farmers Almanac, in a statement published by the Guardian. "This is the true Honey Moon," Berman added.

Despite the moon not being pink, the moon was also lit differently, showcasing an amber shade due to the position of the sun. The light is also passing through a thicker air that causes the effect.




Astronomers say that the next strawberry moon will show up in 47 years, making this event a "twice-in-a-lifetime experience." Last June 20, the moon reached its fullness at 7:02 am according to Washington Post.

Because the moon is not really pink in color, some call it the "honey moon", "rose moon" and "mead moon." This is based on its golden-orange and amber hue that is not typically observed from the moon.



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