For the first time since 1967, the summer solstice will coincide with the strawberry moon on Monday. The longest day of the year, about 17 hours of sunlight, occurs when the tilt of Earth’s semi-axis, in either Northern or Southern hemispheres, is most inclined toward the sun.

In the Northern hemisphere, the inclination of the axis will give the location its longest days with the shortest nights of the year. At the same time, the Southern Hemisphere will be having the opposite, shorter days and longer nights as a signal of the beginning of the winter season, as reported by National Geographic.

Summer Solstice and Strawberry Moon
For the first time since 1967, the summer solstice will coincide with the strawberry moon on Monday. Credit: ABC 7 Chicago

The full moon, or the strawberry moon, will not appear pink despite its rare nickname, although it may glow a warm amber. The Algonquin tribes of North America gave the moon this colorful name, as they believed it was a sign of the beginning of the strawberry picking season.

Other names for the rare moon in the Northern Hemisphere include Rose Moon, Hot Moon and the Honey Moon. In the Southern Hemisphere, the June’s moon is known as the Long Night Moon, according to the Telegraph.

According to astronomer Bob Merman of Farmer’s Almanac, having full moon land smack on the solstice is a genuinely rare event. By landing exactly on the solstice, this full moon does not just rise as the sun sets, but it opposites the sun in all other ways too, he told the Telegraph.

“The sun gets super high, so this moon must be super-low,” Merman commented. “This forces its light through thicker air, which also tends to be humid this time of year, and the combination typically makes it amber colored. This is the true Honey Moon.”

A sacred event

The summer solstice, which comes from the Latin word “solstitium” that stands for “the sun stands still,” is expected to gather more than 25,000 people at the Stonehenge in Avebury, Wiltshire. The day is considered to be sacred by many pagans, and this is celebrated in the country as a yearly holiday.

The rising of the sun in the summer solstice reaches the middle of the stones this exact day, and the celebration is sometimes called The Fire Festival of Litha, a term dating back to the Venerable Bede for the months of June and July.

Other important astronomical events during this year are the Delta Aquarid meteor shower, where the Delta Aquarids will be peaking during the early morning hours of July 28 and 29, with up to 20 meteors an hour visible from dark locations.

On July, as well, it will occur the Aldebaran Occultation, where the waning gibbous moon will eclipse the orange star in an event that is defined as an occultation by the astronomers studying the phenomenon.

Also, by the end of the year, the Perseid meteor shower will be visible, Mercury will reach its greatest Eastern elongation, among others important astronomical events.

Source: National Geographic