The June 9 full moon will be smaller, darker and farther away

Herbert Rhodes
June 9, 2017

The small bright spot near the moon was actually Saturn!

The full moon on June 9 will be the smallest one this year because the familiar celestial body will be at its farthest distance from Earth.

The full moon this month will be a Minimoon or "Pygmy full Moon", and the full phase will occur near Apogee point (outermost point) on its orbit around Earth, according to astronomers.

"The difference between the largest and smallest full moon is only 4 arcminutes, near the limit of what the naked eye can detect", states Ernie Wright, a lead visualizer at the NASA Scientific Visualization Studio.

A view of the full moon taken from the International Space Station. The strawberry moon will also appear smaller a tad bit smaller, thus the name "minimoon". Also, minimoons lack luminosity compared to usual full moons.

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A minimoon occurs when the moon is at its farthest point from the planet called apogee. The moon's orbit around Earth is not shaped as a ideal circle.

To most, the Strawberry Moon will appear full the nights before and after its peak this Friday, June 9, but you should find out what time it will be most visible in your area. The minimoon phenomenon is exactly the opposite of what happens during a supermoon. But people in some parts of Alaska and early risers in Hawaii should be able to enjoy the minimoon to the full. Again, there won't be anything special with how the moon will appear on June 9 nor will it shine in strawberry pink unlike the extremely large supermoon from previous year. Overall, it should be a good night for a Strawberry Moon watch party!

Why is it called the strawberry moon?

Around the world, the Strawberry Moon goes by many names: the Rose Moon in Europe, Strong Sun Moon in folkloric traditions, and, of Native American origin, the Cherokees' Green Corn Moon and the Tlingit's Birth Moon.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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