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Strawberry Full Moon 2020: What is it and how to see the penumbral eclipse tonight

·2-min read
A full moon rising over the sky scrapers of London's Canary Wharf: Getty Images/iStockphoto
A full moon rising over the sky scrapers of London's Canary Wharf: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The next full moon is due to rise over the UK on 5 June, offering sky gazers the chance to see what is traditionally known as the Strawberry Moon.

It will be visible in the evening on Friday, rising in the south east just after 9pm as the sun is setting on the other side of the horizon.

This full moon is referred to as the Strawberry Moon by Native American tribes, as it typically comes at the time of year when strawberries begin to ripen.

It is also sometimes called the Rose Moon in Europe due to its arrival coinciding with the blooming of rose flowers. Neither name is a reference to the colour of the actual moon, which will appear as any other full moon of the year.

It may appear pink or red when it is close to the horizon, however, as it is viewed through a much thicker layer of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The full moon also coincides with a penumbral lunar eclipse, whereby the Earth comes between the Sun and the moon and blocks some of the light. The reduction in light can result in a reddish tinge to the moon's appearance.

June’s full moon follows a succession of so-called supermoons, whereby the moon appears bigger and brighter in the sky.

The rare event takes place when the moon is at its closest orbit to Earth, allowing a better view of its craters, basins and other features.

Various apps are available to track the moon’s progress across the night sky, including Star Chart, Sky Safari and Skyview.

Each give details about which direction the moon will rise and set, as well as which phase the moon is in on any given night.​

"This year has been full of astronomical events with the supermoons over the past few months and it doesn't end there. Tonight the rare Strawberry Moon will rise and be visible each night over this weekend," Zoltan Toth-Czifra, founder of star chart maker Under Lucky Stars, told The Independent.

"In the current climate, a lower than average level of pollution combined with a good weather forecast means the view will be even clearer."

The weather forecast for Friday suggests that viewings of the Strawberry Full Moon may be interrupted, at least for some.

The Met Office states there will be “sunny spells and showers for many, some heavy with isolated thunder; Heavy rain and gales developing across northern Scotland, edging south later.”

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