The most spectacular Moon of 2013 lights up the sky tonight! The Full Strawberry Super Moon coincides with Midsummer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midsummer) and comes two days after the Summer Solstice.
Also known as a perigee moon, a super moon is a coincidence of a Full Moon or a New Moon with the Moon’s closest approach to Earth, named perigee. That’s the point at which the Moon is nearest to Earth as it traces its elliptical path around our planet.
Another name for the super moon is the perigee-syzyhy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The term “supermoon” is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology. The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Due to the Moon’s elliptical orbit around the Earth, its distance varies each month between approximately 357,000 kilometers and 406,000 km. According to NASA, a full moon at perigee is up to 14% larger and 30% brighter than one at its farthest point, or apogee. Tonight’s Super Moon will be at 357,014 km away from Earth. It will be the closest, biggest and fullest moon of 2013. We won’t see the Moon this close ‘till August, 2014.
* The month of June’s full Moon’s name is the Full Strawberry Moon. June’s Full Strawberry Moon got its name because the Algonquin tribes knew it as a signal to gather ripening fruit. It was often known as the Full Rose Moon in Europe (where strawberries aren’t native).
To find out the Moon’s distance from Earth at any time, you can use the Moon Distance Calculator: http://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/lunar-perigee-apogee.html
Image credit: flickr/ Michael @ NW Lens