Strawberry moon 2016: Summer solstice coincides with June's full moon

Pablo Tucker
June 20, 2016

"Having a full moon land smack on the solstice is a truly rare event", says Farmer's Almanac astronomer Bob Berman.

This year's summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge could be marked by the first major protest since the end of the 20 century - as militant druids and pagans revolt against plans to charge for parking and ban alcohol from the event.

A strawberry moon is another name for June's full moon.

Summer is just around the corner, so here are a few things to know about the upcoming Summer Solstice.

Honey and strawberry moons The full moon in June was called the "honeymoon" because this was a good time to take honey from the beehives. It will rise about an hour later on Monday - around 8:10 p.m. CDT.

The summer solstice occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, which is located at 23.5° latitude North, and runs through Mexico, the Bahamas, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, and southern China. During summer, the northern hemisphere tilts toward the sun, meaning its rays are directed almost straight down instead of at an angle. The two coincide once every 70 years. It comes from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop).

It's generally understood to mark the middle of summer - even though some of us may feel like we haven't really had the first half yet in the UK. This year we get the big lovely bonus of a full moon, which hits its peak on the same day.

They will, of course, get shorter between now and the winter solstice on December 21, but don't worry, we're not talking early dark nights quite yet. "It'll be another near miss, with the full moon falling on June 20, 2035, and the solstice arriving one day later", Bruce McClure wrote for EarthSky. Thousands of people gather at the structure, sometimes dressed in Druid attire, to mark the moment in June of the summer solstice. In 2017, summer will start on June 21.

The Sun's track across the sky is much shorter and lower in the winter than in the summer. This year, the festival was held from June 17 to 19. At that very moment, and it only lasts for the slow blink of an eye, the sun will stand still at its northernmost point as seen from Earth.

Tomorrow night is officially the only night of the year when it is socially acceptable to ditch the clothes, light a bonfire, and leap over it singing gobbledegook.

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