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Strawberry Moon up at sunset June 8

Tonight – June 8, 2017 – the Strawberry Moon will look plenty full as it groups up with the star Antares and the planet Saturn in the southeastern sky at nightfall. As our Earth turns underneath the heavens, the full-looking moon, Antares and Saturn will move westward across the nighttime sky. The celestial threesome will climb highest up tonight around midnight, and will sit low in the west at dawn June 9. In North America, we commonly call the June full moon the Strawberry Moon.

This year’s Strawberry Moon turns precisely full on June 9, 2017 at 13:10 Universal Time, to showcase the smallest full moon of 2017. Although the full moon occurs at the same instant worldwide, the clock reading varies by time zone. At U.S. time zones, the moon turns precisely full on June 9 at 9:10 a.m. EDT, 8:10 a.m. CDT, 7:10 a.m. MDT, 6:10 a.m. PST, 5:10 a.m. AKDT and 3:10 a.m. HST.

From North America – except for parts of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands – we won’t be able to see the moon at the exact instant that it turns full because it’ll be below our horizon. From North America, the moon is closest to being full in our sky just before moonset (around sunrise) on June 9, 2017. Click here to know when the moon sets and the sun rises in your sky, remembering to check the moonrise and moonset box.

Because the moon at the instant of this June full moon is nearly 5o north of the ecliptic – Earth’s orbital plane – it’ll actually be possible to see the exact full moon after sunrise from a northern outpost like Alaska. For instance, at Anchorage, Alaska on June 9, 2017, the sun rises at 4:25 a.m. local time, the moon turns full at 5:10 a.m. local time and the moon sets at 5:31 a.m. local time.

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Image via the US Naval Observatory. Day and night sides of Earth at the instant of the June 2017 full moon (2017 June 9 at 13:10 Universal Time). The shadow line at left depicts sunrise June 9 and the shadow line at right represents sunset June 9.

From the worldwide map above, you can see that the full moon occurs at midday June 9 for Iceland, and at midnight (0 hours June 10) for far-eastern Russia and Oceania. The shadow line passing to the west of the Americas shows you where it’s sunrise on June 9, and the shadow line running across Asia depicts sunset June 9. At full moon, the moon is pretty much opposite the sun, setting at about the time the sun is rising – or rising at about the time that the sun is setting. In the Arctic regions of the globe, there are now 24 hours of daylight; and in the Antarctic regions, there is no sun at all.

Technically speaking, we in North America see a waxing gibbous moon on the evening of June 8 and a waning gibbous moon on the evening of June 9. Even so, the moon will look plenty full all night long tonight in North America and around the world, as it lights up the nighttime from dusk until dawn! The moon appears full to the eye, and remains more or less opposite the sun, for the next few nights.

Bottom line: At dusk and nightfall on June 8, 2017, look for the full-looking moon – called the Strawberry Moon in North America – low in the southeast, not far from Saturn and Antares on the great dome of sky.

A planisphere is virtually indispensable tool for beginning stargazers. Order your EarthSky planisphere from our store.

Bruce McClure

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