Skies in Israel and around much of the globe were lit up Friday night with what is affectionately known as a “strawberry moon.”
The name for the penumbral lunar eclipse comes from the full moon’s reddish color that is a result of the earth coming between the sun and the moon, casting a shadow on the latter. The title was donned by Native Americans as it takes place during the short season for harvesting strawberries in the northeastern United States.
The eclipse was visible in the Middle East, eastern Africa, southern Asia and Australia, according to NASA, which said that other parts of the world will see the full moon, but not with a red hue.
Get ready to look to the night sky on Friday. A full “strawberry moon” is on the calendar, and it will coincide with an understated partial eclipse for some parts of the world. While the moon was at its absolute fullest on Friday around noon PT, you’ll have several other opportunities to revel in the view. The moon will still look full from early Thursday morning through early Sunday morning, according to NASA.
A penumbral eclipse is much more subtle than a total eclipse. The moon slips through the Earth’s outer (penumbral) shadow, which can trigger a slight darkening of the moon. If you didn’t know it was happening, you might miss it. A partial penumbral eclipse like the one on Friday makes it even harder to spot a difference.
Denizens of the moon, however, would notice the effects. “For spacecraft at the Moon such as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the reduction in solar power is noticeable,” NASA said.
Friday’s full moon, also known as the strawberry moon, will light up the night sky in most of the Western Hemisphere (including North America), but that’s not the case the world over.
In much of the Eastern Hemisphere, the full moon on Friday (June 5) will showcase a penumbral lunar eclipse, meaning that the strawberry moon will appear dark and silvery.
For anyone bummed out about missing the penumbral lunar eclipse, just wait one month; on July 4, North America will get a chance to see a different penumbral lunar eclipse, according to Space.com, a sister site of Live Science.
The moon’s exact moment of fullness happens at 3:12 p.m. EDT (19:12 UTC) on Friday, according to NASA. However, because the moon won’t be visible in North America at the point, your best bet is to gaze skyward at moonrise, when the slightly-less-full moon will begin its ascent at 8:23 p.m. EDT (shortly before sunset at 8:31 p.m. EDT), according to Travel and Leisure.
The strawberry moon is named for the relatively short strawberry growing season in northeastern North America; it’s a name recognized by most Algonquin tribes, the now-defunct Maine Farmer’s Almanac reported in the 1930s, according to NASA.
In fact, June is prime strawberry growing time for most of the United States, according to the food site Epicurious, which also pointed out that strawberries are a favorite, ranking sixth as the country’s most popular fruit. If you have a sweet tooth, go for wild strawberries, which tend to have sweeter, tangier flavors than the more firm, waterier store-bought ones, Live Science previously reported.
Other names for this full moon include the mead moon, honey moon, rose moon and LRO moon (for the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which was launched toward the moon June 18, 2009), according to NASA. Whatever you call it, this will be the last full moon of spring, before the summer solstice on June 20.
On the other side of the world, June’s full moon will feature a penumbral lunar eclipse. Those in the Southern Hemisphere, including Africa, Australia and Central and Southern Asia, will see the penumbral lunar eclipse in its entirety, while the eastern coast of South America will see the end of the penumbral eclipse at moonrise, according to Space.com.
There are three kinds of lunar eclipses, which can happen only during a full moon. During a total lunar eclipse, when the moon passes directly through Earth’s full shadow (or umbra), the moon appears blood-red, colored by the world’s sunrises and sunsets. During a partial lunar eclipse, the umbra darkens only part of the full moon, making a chunk of the moon appear darker than the rest.
For the penumbral lunar eclipse this Friday, the strawberry moon is dipping 57% into the penumbra, or outer shadow, of Earth, Travel and Leisure reported. The lunar show begins at 1:45 p.m. EDT (17:45 UTC), but to catch the maximum eclipse, tune in at 3:24 p.m. EDT (19:24 UTC), according to timeanddate.com, which explained that “the moon is below the horizon during this eclipse, so it is not possible to view it in New York.” The penumbral eclipse ends 3 hours and 18 minutes later at 5:04 p.m. EDT (21:04 UTC).
To watch a live stream of the eclipse, tune into the Virtual Telescope, which will get a peek at part of the penumbral lunar eclipse as it rises over Rome.
The celestial show doesn’t end there. According to timeanddate.com, “a solar eclipse always occurs about two weeks before or after a lunar eclipse.” In this case, the solar eclipse — when the moon is directly between the sun and Earth — will happen on June 21. But, just like the strawberry moon’s penumbral lunar eclipse, this eclipse won’t be visible in North America.