Stargazers are in for a massive treat this week as a Strawberry Supermoon graces the night sky.
It will be the fourth and final Supermoon of 2021 – so you don’t want to miss it.
Supermoons are a relatively rare astronomical spectacle, typically only appearing three to four times a year.
June 2021’s full moon, which appears hot on the heels of the solar eclipse, will appear bigger and brighter than usual.
Because it follows a low path in the sky, it will also give off a gorgeous orange tint.
So what exactly is a Strawberry Supermoon, and when will it appear in the sky? Here is everything you need to know.
The final Supermoon of 2021 will appear on June 24.
According to the Royal Observatory Greenwhich, the Moon will reach its absolute peak brightness at 7.39pm.
However, it will be most visible for people in the UK when the moon has completely risen, at around 9.30pm.
This will depend on where you are in the UK.
What is a Supermoon?
A Supermoon is a full moon which appears about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal.
A full moon is considered “Super” when the Moon’s orbit is closest (pedigree) to Earth.
NASA explained: “The term ‘supermoon’ was coined in 1979 and is often used to describe what astronomers would call a perigean (pear-ih-jee-un) full moon: a full moon occurring near or at the time when the Moon is at the closest point in its orbit around Earth.
“The term gives preference to the geometric alignment of Sun-Earth-Moon and allows the occurrence of perigee into a wider time period than the actual instant of perigee (up to about two weeks, which is almost half of the Moon’s orbit).”
Why is it called a Strawberry Moon?
Unfortunately, the Strawberry Moon doesn’t get its name because of its appearance.
The name Strawberry Supermoon is attributed to Native American traditions.
According to the Almanac, it’s the name of June’s full moon, because it was the time of year to gather ripening strawberries.
However, according to Bob Bonadurer, director of the Milwaukee Public Museum’s planetarium, it is the most colourful of the year because it takes a low, shallow path across the sky.
The low arc of the June Moon usually means moonlight travels through more of the Earth’s atmosphere, which often gives an orange or yellow tint.
How to see the Supermoon
As with any full moon, you won’t need any particular equipment to see it in all its glory.
On Thursday evening, keep your eyes peeled on the southeastern horizon.
But first, give your eyes a bit of time to adjust to the darkness.
You’ll also have a better change at spotting it if you head to a big open space without any light pollution.
If, for any reason, you aren’t able to make it out to see it, you can always watch the Supermoon live event.
The Virtual Telescope Project in Italy is hosting a free broadcast on YouTube.