June’s Strawberry Solstice Full Moon

Happy June Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 6 of Volume VIII of Earth, Moon and Stars!


   I’d be delighted if you were to leave a comment (down at the bottom), letting me know what you like or dislike, or if you have any questions or requests. I’ll keep your comment private if you so request.


   Oh, here we go again . . . not a “strawberry solstice”. It’s just that it’s Strawberry Moon time again, and we have the relatively rare concurrence of a full moon on the same day as the solstice. Details below . . .

   The moon will become full Monday, June 20, at 11:02 UT, correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See Seasonal Calendar in my December 2014 issue for clarification about UT-Universal Time.)

  Because fullness will occur this time close to noon at the Prime Meridian, Ms. Luna will appear fullest on Monday night in Atlantic time zones east to the International Date Line. People on the eastern seaboard of the United States (Eastern time) will be on the cusp and will see approximately equal fullness both Sunday and Monday nights. Central time zone west to the Date Line will see closer to fullness on Sunday night. As we like to point out here, she will appear to be full on the nights before and after fullness, too. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   The Native American Algonquin tribes named the June full moon the Strawberry Moon. See Moon Names for details.

   It’s a relatively rare coincidence that the moon will become full on the same date as the June solstice. Read about the solstice and this coincidence in Seasonings.

   The Summer Solstice is celebrated at this time of year in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. See Celebrations for details.

   Molly Hall offers us some timely insight for this full moon in Sagittarius. See Astrology for details.

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Moon Dates and Times

June’s full moon             Monday June 20 11:02 UT; 7:02 am EDT; 4:02 am PDT; 1:02 am HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 2:02 pm IDT; 7:02 pm AWST/PHT;  9:02 pm AEST
June solstice                    Monday June 20 22:35 UT; 6:34 pm EDT; 3:35 pm PDT; 12:35 pm HAST
.                                           Monday June 20 12:35 am IDT; 6:35 am AWST/PHT;  8:35 am AEST
July’s new moon            Monday July 4 11:01 UT; 2:01 pm IDT; 7:01 pm AWST/PHT; 9:01 pm AEST
.                                           Monday July 4 1:01 am HAST;  4:01 am PDT; 7:01 am EDT
July’s full moon             Tuesday July 19 22:57 UT; 6:57 pm EDT; 3:57 pm PDT; 12:57 pm HAST
.                                          Wednesday July 20 1:57 am IDT; 6:57 am AWST/PHT;  8:57 am AEST

Check out Moon Giant to see Full Moon and New Moon times for your local time zone.

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“Strawberry” Moon

    Many cultures in both hemispheres kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred and keyed –naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

Strawberry moon

Strawberry moon

    Because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during the month of June, the Algonquin tribes in what is now the northeastern United States and Canada, called the June full moon Ode’ imini-Giizis in Ojibwe, which translates to Strawberry Moon. The Europeans, by contrast, called it the Rose Moon. (ref: Farmers Almanac; Ojibwe)

   (I couldn’t find proper attribution for the “MJ” in the above creation. If you know who the artist is, please leave a comment, below.) 

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June Solstice Coincides with Full Moon

  Monday (20th — see exact times above) will mark the June solstice (summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere) — the time when the sun “stops” in its (apparent) movement northward and then begins moving south. (Remember – solstice means “sun standing still”.)

   This phenomenon occurs when Earth in its orbit has the north end of its axis pointing at the Sun. Well, not directly at the Sun, but not pointing to the left or right.  Since a picture is worth at least a few hundred words, here’s one of the clearest diagrams I’ve come across:

Seasons at a glance (astrowright)

Seasons at a glance (astrowright)

     In addition to being clear and uncluttered, this diagram includes labels for the seasons in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The position of the Earth on the right is where we will be on June 20th: the summer solstice in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. Hopefully it’s clear from this diagram that the seasons are a result of the tilt of the Earth, and not because of any variation in our distance from the Sun.

Coincidental Timing

   The fact that the moon will be full on the same day as the solstice is purely coincidental; the motions of the Moon and Earth that determine the moment of fullness are not significantly coupled with the motions of the Earth that determine the moment of solstice.

   This will be the Northern Hemisphere’s first summer solstice full moon since 1967. Keeping in mind that “same date” involves using a time and date reckoning system invented by people, the full moon and June solstice won’t fall on the same calendar date again until June 21, 2062. (See this EarthSky article for more details.)

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   Sol + stice comes from the Latin for “sun” + “to stand still.” On this day (actually at this one instant) in the Northern Hemisphere, because of the Earth’s continuing trip around the Sun, the sun reaches its most northerly – and thus highest – point in the sky for the year, and then begins a slow descent toward the south. (Looking from the Southern Hemisphere, this most northerly point in the sky is the sun’s lowest.)

   As a major celestial event, the Summer Solstice results in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. The Northern Hemisphere experiences this in June, while the Southern Hemisphere has its longest summer day in December.

Early Celebrations, June Weddings, and Honeymoon

   This first day of summer has for centuries been celebrated by civilizations the world over. The English called it Midsummer or St. John’s Day. Wiccans call it Litha. The Celts & Slavs celebrated the first day of summer with dancing & bonfires to help increase the sun’s energy. The Chinese marked the day by honoring Li, the Chinese Goddess of Light.

   Perhaps the most enduring of modern ties with the Summer Solstice derives from the Druids’ celebration of the day as the “wedding of Heaven and Earth”, resulting in the present day belief of a “lucky” wedding in June.

   Today, the day is still celebrated around the world – most notably in England at Stonehenge and Avebury, where thousands gather to welcome the sunrise on the Summer Solstice.

Stonehenge ~ June 21, 2015 (abc.net.au)

Stonehenge ~ June 21, 2015 (abc.net.au)

   Pagans called the Midsummer moon the “Honey Moon” for the mead made from fermented honey that was part of wedding ceremonies performed at the Summer Solstice. You can read more details at Chiff.com. Also check out TimeandDate‘s very informative article Traditions and Holidays Around the June Solstice.

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Moon Travels Through the Zodiac

  Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the Zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to complete an entire round. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign. She entered Sagittarius on Saturday and will remain there until less than an hour after technical fullness on Monday. She will then move into Capricorn, remain there until Wednesday, and then begin moving into Aquarius.

   You may recall that the Moon was already in Sagittarius when she was full last month, and she will be in Sagittarius again when she becomes full this month (aside from the fact that she will move out of Sagit only 53 minutes later). This doubling down occurs approximately every two to three years, though taking turns in different zodiac signs. A double occurrence in the same sign may take 20 to 30 years to repeat; the last double Sagittarius was in 1997. Most astrologers consider such events as either stretching out or amplifying their effects . . . depending, of course, on her location in the sign, the positions of planets, etc. 

Moon Void of Course

   Technical astrologers call the times while Ms. Luna is moving from one sign to the next “void of course”. This is considered to be a sort of neither-here-nor-there state, which many people feel as being unsettled or ungrounded. You can find interesting VoC info and tables at Moontracks.  

Sagittarius Full Moon

Molly Hall ~  

Second Sagittarius Full Moon this Season

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at about.com, where she provides both technical and practical insights derived from the positions of the stars and planets. Molly considers this second full moon in a row in Sagittarius a bright note that coincides with the Summer Solstice:

   In this perilous sea of delusion and overwrought emotion, Sagittarius makes a beeline for the fiery trail that’s true.  This is a fire sign of action, and sometimes Full Moons are active, as opposed to New Moons. With all the mutable shifting, things could happen fast, and jettison you down an unexpected pathway.

   Hopefully that gives you the flavor of Molly’s post for this moon. For all the juicy details, click through to “Sagittarius Full Moon ~ June 20th”

   In addition to her insights around this full moon, Molly offers the following helpful articles:

   Also visit Molly’s front page for lots more interesting astrology.

Sagittarius Full Moon

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My Personal Take on Astrology

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that the astrologers I feature express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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   If you especially like (or dislike) something you see here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. 

   Until the full moon in July, here’s wishing all of us a month of celebration and sightings of our new big pictures!

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    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images appearing on it. Copyrighted images remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when known. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the image in question and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.


About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
This entry was posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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