The night’s sky is giving us something interesting to look at this week, thanks to a ‘strawberry’ full moon and a lunar eclipse.
June’s full moon, the last before 2020’s summer solstice, is set to light up our skies on Friday June 5. It’s called a ‘strawberry’ moon because in the northern hemisphere, this moon is associated with the wild strawberries that ripen in the first of the summer months. It’s also known as a ‘hot moon’ because of June’s typically balmy temperatures and ‘rose moon’ after all the buds set to open this month.
The celestial action this week will be even more notable because the full moon will also coincide with a type of lunar eclipse.
Keen stargazers will be able to spot a penumbral lunar eclipse, which is basically when the outer shadow of the Earth falls over the moon’s surface. It’s not super easy to spot – it’s more subtle than a lunar eclipse where the Earth’s main shadow blocks out the moon – but if you pay attention you should be able to see the ‘strawberry moon’ turn a shade darker during the eclipse.
Where is the eclipse visible? Much of the UK and Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and Australia will have visibility. Certain places will miss out thanks to the time of day and the moon being below the horizon for them. In some places the peak of the eclipse will be easily visible while for other places, like London for example, the moon will rise halfway through the eclipse.
The eclipse will last around three hours and 20 minutes, starting at 6.45pm BST (though the moon will still be below the horizon at that time in the UK and will rise from 9pm), 1.45am SGT, 3.45am AEST. Better set that alarm and get spotting.