The traditional names given to the full moons come from a number of places and historical periods, including Native American, colonial American and European sources.
The full moon that falls in June is commonly referred to as the “Strawberry Moon”—a name that originates with Native Americans. This is because June is traditionally a time when wild strawberries are ready for harvest in North America.
“June’s full moon was named to what translates in the English language as ‘Strawberry Moon’ by several indigenous peoples, including members of the Algonquin, Ojibwe, Dakota, and Lakota peoples, to mark the ripening of wild strawberries,” Catherine Boeckmann, senior digital editor for the website of The Old Farmer’s Almanac, told Newsweek.
Other Native American peoples gave different names to the June full moon, including the Blooming Moon (Anishinaabe), Green Corn Moon (Cherokee), Hoer Moon (Western Abenaki), Birth Moon (Tlingit), Egg Laying Moon or Hatching Moon (Cree).
Full moons are lunar phases that occur roughly once every month when the moon is located opposite to the sun, with the Earth in between. During a full moon, the side that faces towards our planet is fully illuminated, appearing as a perfect circle.
“To me, the show of the full moon offers its best when our satellite rises or sets, which happens at sunset and at dawn respectively,” Gianluca Masi, an astronomer from the Virtual Telescope Project, told Newsweek. “The full moon shines in the sky in the opposite direction with respect to the sun—so it rises at sunset and sets at dawn.”
“During the twilight, the residual solar light scattered all around by our atmosphere allows us to admire the scenery, while the full moon rises or sets,” he said. “At night, the full moon is very bright, almost dazzling, compared to the darkness of the landscape.”
While the moon will appear full to most observers for about a day before and after June 14, it will technically only be full for a single moment. On June 14, this moment will occur at 7:52 a.m. Eastern Time, according to the Almanac, although the moon will not be visible in North America until after sunset that day.
June’s Strawberry Moon can also be described as a “supermoon” because the moon will be very close to its perigee—the point in its orbit that is closest to Earth. The moon is in an elliptical orbit around Earth, meaning at some points it will be closer to us than others.
“‘Supermoon’ is a popular term indicating a full moon or a new moon happening when our satellite is close to its perigee, within 90 percent of its minimum distance from the Earth,” Masi said. “This will happen with the upcoming Strawberry full moon. The term itself is of no scientific value—astronomers prefer to call it perigee full moon—but undoubtedly ‘Supermoon’ is by far a much more charming name.”