BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Friday night is the perfect moment for skywatchers, as an interesting astronomical phenomenon will be visible from Earth. This month’s full moon, also known as strawberry moon, is unique, since it’s the smallest full moon of the year. The phenomenon is possible since the moon will be at its furthest distance from Earth.
The moon reaches its furthest point from Earth
The strawberry moon, which astronomers also call mini-moon or micro-moon, appears smaller during this time of the year. The moon’s orbit around Earth is not shaped as a perfect circle. Therefore, depending on its position, it appears smaller or larger in different periods of the year.
The moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 240,000 miles, and there are around 30,000 miles between its closest and its furthest point to Earth. The furthest point, also known as the moon’s apogee, lies around 250,000 miles away from Earth. This point will be occupied on June 8th, and that’s why the moon of June 9th will appear so small.
Therefore, a micro-moon will appear much smaller and less bright than a supermoon but, in fact, there’s not much difference between the two. The supermoon is 30 percent brighter than a micro-moon, but only 14 percent bigger. This represents the perigee, when the moon is placed 220,000 miles away from Earth.
Why is it called the strawberry moon?
This month’s full moon is called the strawberry moon, but the name has nothing to do with its appearance. It comes from the Algonquin Indians, who chose the name to suit the time of the year when strawberries are most ripe. Also, it should serve as a reminder that it’s time to start picking them up.
On Friday morning, at 9:09 a.m., the strawberry moon will reach its fullest point, but it will appear as full both during Thursday and Friday night.
Image Source: Max Pixel