Full moon in June mimics path of December sun
When to watch in 2023: Overnight of June 3.
Where to look: lLook for the bright round moon in the east in the evening, highest in the sky around midnight, and in the west before sunrise.
Crest of the full moon falls at 3:42 UTC on June 4, 2023. That’s 10:42 p.m. CDT on June 3 in central North America. So if you live in either North or South America, your fullest moon hangs in the southeast after sunset on June 3.
In fact, all full moons rise along the eastern horizon near sunset, and set along the western horizon near sunrise. And they are visible all night as they trek across the sky. At full moon, the sun, Earth, and moon are aligned in space with Earth in the middle. That’s because the moon’s day side – its fully lighted hemisphere – directly faces us. That’s why the moon appears full. Also note that the moon will look full and round for a day or two around full moon.
It’s the Strawberry Moon
All full moons have names. In Europe, popular names for the June full moon include the Honey Moon and the Mead Moon. Some Native Americans used the name Strawberry Moon for the June full moon, and that name is still the most common in North America. The name Strawberry Moon highlights the time of year when many species of berries ripen, particularly sweet strawberries.
June full moon is in Scorpius in 2023
The June 2023 full moon can lie in front of one of three constellations of the zodiac. First, it can lie in the constellation Scorpius the Scorpion. The second is the lesser-known constellation Ophiuchus the Serpent Bearer. And the third is Sagittarius the Archer.
As seen from the Americas, the full moon on the night of June 3, 2023 will be located in the direction of Scorpius. You’ll notice a bright star nearby. It’s Antares, known as the Scorpion’s Heart.
When it rises on June 4, the moon will still appear full. On that night, from the Americas, it’ll be near the foot of Sagittarius the Archer and eastward of the previous night’s location. And it’ll be near the noticeable asterism called the Teapot.
June full moon mimics December sun
Because a full moon stays more or less opposite the sun, the full moon’s nighttime path mimics the sun’s daytime path from six months ago, or six months hence.
This full moon occurs close to the June solstice, so the moon follows nearly the same path across the sky as the December solstice sun. The December solstice is the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice. So the moon’s trek on the nights around the June full moon will resemble the low path of the winter solstice sun.
North of the Arctic Circle, the wintertime sun never climbs above the horizon. So neither will this June full moon.
Meanwhile – in the Southern Hemisphere – the June full moon’s flight across the sky will mirror that of the high summer solstice sun.
And, south of the Antarctic Circle, the moon will be out for 24 hours around the clock, simulating the midnight sun of summer.
Arc of the June full moon
The moon’s arc across our sky varies from month to month and season to season. Every full moon rises along the eastern horizon, opposite the sun as it sets in the west. And every full moon arcs across the sky throughout the night, and sets along the western horizon around dawn. So for viewers in the Northern Hemisphere, the arc of June’s full moon is lower than the paths of the full moons since December. This year, the July 3rd full moon arcs slightly lower because it occurs closer to the solstice on June 21 than the June 4th full moon.
For those in the Southern Hemisphere, the full moon’s arc across the sky is climbing higher with each successive month since December, reaching its highest at the full moon falling closest to the June solstice, which occurs sometime from mid June through early July. That’s because in 2023, even though the June 3rd full moon is close to the solstice, the July 3rd full moon falls closer.
Bottom line: The June full moon – the Strawberry Moon – occurs on the overnight of June 3, 2023.