SKYWATCHERS were treated to a glorious lunar phenomenon as the moon turned spectacular shades of pink ahead of the summer solstice.
The June full moon gets its name “strawberry moon” from early Native American tribes as it coincided with the time of year for gathering ripe fruit.
On Monday night, lunar lovers across Europe were able to bathe in the rosy glow of the blushing moon.
In the UK, a vast pinkish moon could be spotted rising above Rampion wind farm off the south coast of Worthing, Sussex.
Elsewhere in Eastchruch, Kent, a whitish pink moon was seen hovering above Shurland Hall in Eastchurch, Kent, where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn spent their honeymoon.
While an orangey-pink moon could be spotted above the bank buildings in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial centre.
On the Spanish island of Tenerife, a multiple exposure image shows the strawberry moon setting behind the island of La Gomera.
The moon gets its colour as the moon is closest to the summer solstice, meaning it shines through more atmosphere than at any other times of the year.
This then lends the moon its incredibly pinkish glow.
At this time of the year the orbit of the moon around the earth is nearly the same as the orbit of the earth around the sun – meaning the full moon appears lowest in the sky.
Why do we have a strawberry moon?
- When the Sun appears highest in the sky near the summer solstice, the full moon opposite the sun generally appears lowest in the sky.
- Particularly for Europe’s higher latitudes, the full Moon nearest the summer solstice shines through more atmosphere than at other times of the year.
- This can give the full Moon a reddish or rose color (for much the same reasons that a rising or setting Sun appears red).
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The moon enjoyed peak brightness at around 9.30am on Monday, when it was below the horizon, with skywatchers able to enjoy it best as it rose above the horizon 12 hours later.
Another name given to the phenomenon is Mead Moon or the Honey Moon – a time when honey is ripe and ready to be harvested, potentially to be turned into mead.
The 1500s term “honeymoon” may be linked to this full moon, referring to the first month after marriage.
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