Have you ever wondered why the different lunar events and phases throughout the year have so many creative and colorful names? Take the 2020 Strawberry Moon, for example, which is expected to be visible from the Philippines on June 6, from 1:45 AM to about 5:04 AM. Hearing the words “strawberry” and “moon” together may lead you to think that Earth’s satellite will take on a reddish hue. (It also doesn’t help that there tends to be plenty of edited Moon photos that pop up at around this time every year.) However, the fruity name of this lunar phenomenon has nothing to do with the Moon actually changing colors—and everything to do with what the astronomical event signaled for tribesmen centuries ago.
Full Moons were typically used by tribes for keeping track of seasonal transitions, and were exceptionally helpful for harvesters. The Strawberry Moon is the full Moon that takes place in June, which also happens to be either the last of spring or the first of summer. It was named as such by the Algonquin tribes in eastern North America because to them, it meant that wild strawberries were turning ripe and almost ready for picking. In other areas of the world, it’s called the Honey Moon, Mead Moon, Hot Moon, or Rose Moon.
This year, the Strawberry Moon brings with it another special event that will only be noticeable from certain parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia. When the Moon crosses Earth’s penumbra (or the faint outer part of its shadow), we may witness what’s called a penumbral lunar eclipse. It won’t be a full-blown blackout, though. Instead, expect the Moon to be just ever-so-slightly dimmer than normal (think brownish or tea-colored instead of bright white). In fact, we’ll probably only be able to notice the actual “Strawberry Moon Eclipse” midway through, when Earth’s penumbral shadow covers more than half of the Moon.
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Author: Mikael Angelo Francisco
Bitten by the science writing bug, Mikael has years of writing and editorial experience under his belt. As the editor-in-chief of FlipScience, Mikael has sworn to help make science more fun and interesting for geeky readers and casual audiences alike.