The first full moon of summer 2021, also known as the Strawberry Moon, will rise Thursday night (June 24) shortly after sunset. The moon will likely appear a little plumper and brighter than normal. That’s because the June “Strawberry Moon” is marginally considered a supermoon, according to NASA. This will be the last supermoon for 2021.

A Strawberry Moon over the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion in June 2019. Credits: NASA and Elias Chasiotis

Supermoons are those full moons that pass the Earth near the closest point in their monthly orbit (known as perigee) and can appear up to 30 percent brighter and 14 percent bigger than full moons that pass at their greatest distance (known as apogee).

June’s full moon arrives Thursday afternoon at precisely 1:40 pm CDT. Technically, the moon will officially be full before it appears above the horizon, as the full moon rises across Central Texas just before 9 pm CDT. The moon will appear full for about three days, starting early Wednesday (June 23) morning through early Saturday (June 26) morning, according to a statement from NASA.

This year’s Strawberry Moon closely follows the summer solstice, which occurred Sunday (June 20), marking the official start of summer. On the summer solstice, the sun appears highest in the sky for the year, NASA explains. “Full moons are opposite the sun, so a full moon near the summer solstice will be low in the sky.” During the summer solstice of 2021, the sun was  at its highest and northernmost point in the sky of the year. As a result, full moons that occur near the summer solstice are lower in the sky because the moon is exactly opposite the sun during its full phase. In turn, the moon’s low trajectory takes it through the lowest part of the atmosphere, giving the moon its reddish or amber-colored appearance.

June’s full moon is often referred to as the Strawberry Moon because it falls during the strawberry harvesting season in the northeastern U.S. Similarly, June’s full moon has also been called the Rose Moon because it occurs around the time roses bloom.

The forecast calls for a mostly clear sky across Central Texas Thursday evening, so the viewing should be excellent!  Don’t miss the Strawberry Moon!