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Full moon is June 5; solstice on its way


Who wouldn’t swoon for a full moon in June?

It’s the Full Strawberry Moon that fills the sky, officially peaking at 1:12 p.m. MDT Friday, June 5.

It’s the last full moon of spring, as the summer solstice occurs at 3:43 p.m. MDT Saturday, June 20.

June’s full Moon is traditionally called the Strawberry Moon, according to www.almanac.com.

“This name originated with Algonquin tribes in eastern North America who knew it as a signal to gather the ripening fruit of wild strawberries,” the website says. “Alternative European names for this moon include the Honey Moon and the Mead Moon. It has also been called the Rose Moon. June was traditionally the month of marriages and is even named after the Roman goddess of marriage, Juno. Following marriage comes the “honeymoon,” which may be tied to this full moon’s name.”

The word solstice, meanwhile, comes from the Latin solstitium, from sol (sun) and stitium (to stop), “reflecting the fact that the sun appears to stop at this time (and again at the winter solstice),” according to www.almanac.com.

The summer solstice – the longest day of the year – occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer, the northern-most circle of latitude on planet Earth. At this point, the northern hemisphere is tilted toward the sun to its maximum extent.

“The astronomical start of a season is based on the position of the Earth in relation to the Sun,” the website said. “More specifically, the start of each season is marked by either a solstice (for winter and summer) or an equinox (for spring and autumn). A solstice is when the Sun reaches the most southerly or northerly point in the sky, while an equinox is when the Sun passes over Earth’s equator. Because of leap years, the dates of the equinoxes and solstices can shift by a day or two over time, causing the start dates of the seasons to shift, too.”

The fall equinox will occur at 7:30 a.m. MDT on Tuesday, Sept. 22. That means summer 2020 will be a few hours short of 95 days long.