Quantcast

The Full Moon of June: A Special Solstice Strawberry Moon!

Primary Image
full strawberry moon, june full moon, The old farmer's almanac
Photo Credit
Colleen Quinnell/The Old Farmer's Almanac

Watch for the Full Strawberry Moon!

Print Friendly and PDF
Body

The Full Strawberry Moon on June 21 is the lowest full Moon in many years. What does this mean? Expect a beautiful full Moon that looks extra-large and is reddish-orange colored. Learn more about this special solstice Moon from Bob Berman.

When to See the Full Moon in June 2024

This year, the Full Moon coincides with the summer solstice! On the evening of June 21 —just after sunset—look towards the southeast to watch the full Moon rise gently above the horizon. June’s full Moon will reach peak illumination at 9:08 P.M. Eastern Time. See the Full Moon Calculator for your local time.

Why the Solstice Moon is Special

This is an unusual full Moon, which I highlighted in my 2024 astronomical highlights.

The June Moon begins its Moon Phase cycle as the “New Moon” on June 6. Then, night after night, the hair-thin crescent will grow fatter until it waxes all the way to its first-quarter phase on the 14th.  That’s when it will hover due south on the meridian at sunset and offer binocular and telescope owners perfectly shadowed lunar terrain.  

After that, meaning these next couple of weeks, the Moon enters its waxing gibbous phase, the odd football shape that still boasts ideal highlighting of lunar features since sunlight continues to strike the Moon’s surface at a sharp, shadow-casting angle. But each night now, the Sun will be higher up in the lunar sky, which makes our nearest neighbor reflect sunlight to us more and more intensely.  

Tuesday, June 18, is a sort of turning point in the moonlight department. Like a highway sign brightly aglow when reflecting a car’s headlights straight back at it, the Moon starts optimally reflecting sunlight 2 ½ days before it’s Full. That’s Tuesday. Quite suddenly, it then explosively brightens.

The first-quarter phase Moon on the 14th will give us only wimpy light. The Full Moon is ten times brighter than this “half Moon.” But this brilliance starts rapidly increasing Tuesday night, and then for nearly a week, people in rural regions can see spring’s foliage by moonlight alone. More than that, the Moon is then bright enough to bring out colors.

But our present focus is on the strangeness of this month’s Full Moon, which happens because it lands so soon after the summer solstice.

The Solstice Full Moon owes its strangeness to yet another little-known lunar reality: the Full Moon is opposite the Sun in all respects. It rises just as the Sun is setting, and it sets when the Sun rises. At midnight, when the sun is lowest down, the full Moon is highest up.

Since the 2024 June full Moon happens on the solstice, the very day the Sun is absolutely at its highest of the year, this month’s full Moon on the 21st is the very lowest full Moon, indeed, the lowest we’ve seen in years. Just look at it! Because the Moon is so low, it will appear bigger than ever. This is called the “Moon Illusion.”

Since we’re in daylight time, the middle of the night is now 1 AM, so check out the full moon when it’s at its loftiest position of the night. It’s barely up at all! From places like Fairbanks and Rekyavik, this Full Moon won’t even clear their horizon. It won’t rise at all. For them, June will simply have no full Moon.      

So we’ve got a paradox coming. The Full Moon usually is our brightest night. But this month, it ascends so little that the thick horizon air will give it an orange-red hue and subdue its light. Moreover, its extreme southerly position will keep it aloft for a few short hours, leaving that night mostly black. Don’t miss this extra-low, extra-big, colorful full Moon for a few precious hours.

Why Is It Called the Strawberry Moon?

The full Moon names used by The Old Farmer’s Almanac come from many places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Historically, names for the full or new Moons were used to track the seasons. Today, we think of Moon names as “nicknames” for the Moon.

June’s full Moon—typically the last full Moon of spring or the first of summer—has traditionally been called the Strawberry Moon. While strawberries certainly are a reddish-pink color and are roundish in shape, the origin of the name “Strawberry Moon” has nothing to do with the Moon’s hue or appearance, despite the evocative imagery (shown in the artist rendering below). A Moon usually appears reddish when it’s close to the horizon because the light rays must pass through the densest layers of the atmosphere.

 
This “Strawberry Moon” name has been used by Native American Algonquian tribes that live in the northeastern United States as well as the Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples to mark the ripening of “June-bearing” strawberries that are ready to be gathered. The Haida term Berries Ripen Moon reflects this as well. As flowers bloom and early fruit ripens, June is a time of great abundance for many.

Full moon over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, CA.

Alternative June Moon Names

Over time, many cultures have used different names for the 12 full moons experienced each year. Usually, they’re not based on color but on a common activity that takes place that time of year. 

Blooming Moon (Anishinaabe) is indicative of the flowering season, while Green Corn Moon (Cherokee) and Hoer Moon (Western Abenaki) suggest that it’s time to tend to young crops.

Other names highlight that this is a time of new life: The Tlingit have used the term Birth Moon, referring to the time when certain animals are born in their region (the Pacific Northwest). Egg Laying Moon and Hatching Moon are Cree terms that also hint at a time when many animal babies were born.

Alternative European names for this Moon include the Honey Moon and the Mead Moon. June was traditionally the month of marriage and is even named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. Following marriage comes the “honeymoon,” which may be tied to this alternative Moon name!

→ See all 12 months of full Moon names and meanings.

Moon Phases for June 2024

See our Moon Phase Calendar to customize dates and times to your location.

June Moon Phase Dates and Times
New Moon: June 6, 8:38 A.M. EDT
First Quarter: June 14, 1:18 A.M. EDT
Full Moon: June 21, 9:08 P.M. EDT
Last Quarter: June 28, 5:53 P.M. EDT

→ Also, find the Moon rise and set times here.

June Moon Folklore

  • A growing Moon and a flowing tide are lucky times to marry.
  • Days following both the New and Full Moons are most likely to be rainy or stormy.
  • Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full.

Full Strawberry Moon Video

Learn more about how the full Strawberry Moon name originated, along with some fascinating Moon facts, in our short video here:

Best Days in June 2024

Below are the best days for activities, based on the Moon’s sign and phase in June.

ActivityBest Days
Go Camping19-21
Setting Eggs14,15, 23-25
Fishing6-21

→ See all activities on our Best Days calendar.

Share your thoughts about this month’s Moon below!

About The Author

Bob Berman

Bob Berman, astronomer editor for The Old Farmer’s Almanac, covers everything under the Sun (and Moon)! Bob is the world’s most widely read astronomer and has written ten popular books. Read More from Bob Berman

No content available.