TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — To many, June means the official return of summer, but it’s not the only season to kick off this month. June also marks the start of the supermoon season. According to AccuWeather, supermoons are annual occurrences that take place in sets of three or four, causing the moon to look slightly bigger and brighter than other full moons throughout the year.
This year, astronomers will get their first glimpse of a supermoon starting late Monday, June 13. The supermoon will remain in the sky until Tuesday morning when it will reach its full illumination at 7:52 a.m. This first occurrence is called the Strawberry Moon because it will happen during the strawberry harvest season.
Why does the moon appear bigger?
As the moon orbits around the Earth, it follows a misshapen oval path called an ellipse. Because of this, the moon is closer to the Earth at times and farther away at others, AccuWeather explains. A supermoon takes place when a full moon happens around the same time as when the moon is closest to Earth, causing it to look slightly bigger and brighter than other full moons.
NASA says supermoons can appear up to 30% brighter and 17% larger than other full moons. The Strawberry Moon will be the brightest moon of the year, making it fairly easy to spot in the night sky.
Where should I look?
NASA says the full moon will be at 7:52 a.m. on Tuesday, June 14. Later that night, around 7:24 p.m., the Strawberry Moon will reach its closest point to Earth for this orbit, known as perigee.
To see the Strawberry Moon, you’ll want to look toward the southeast just after sunset on Tuesday, June 14, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. Check the Almanac’s Moonrise and Moonset Calculator for times when you can see it in your area.
This will be the lowest full moon of the year, NASA explains, as it will only reach 23.3 degrees above the horizon early Wednesday morning.