A Rare Pair: Summer Solstice and Full Strawberry Moon Both Happening on June 20
Although the hot temperatures we've been having makes it seem like it's been summer for quite a while now, today (June 20) is actually considered to be the first official day of the season. Known as the summer solstice, this day is also the longest of the year, with the sun rising this morning in Colorado at 5:29 a.m. and not setting until nearly 8:34 p.m. – meaning a total of about 15 hours of full daylight. What's happening behind the scenes, is the sun standing still at the northernmost point in the sky possible, directly over the Tropic of Cancer. The summer solstice has deep-rooted meanings from ancient cultures, celebrating a time of renewal, fertility and harvest.
While the solstice happens every year and is celebrated by many cultures all across the world, it's the other occurrence happening in the sky tonight that makes this date particularly rare and special, causing even more celebration than normal. Once the sun finally does go down, we will then see a beautiful, full Strawberry Moon appear. The coinciding of these two events is something that only happens once every 70 years, marking this date in 2016 as a very unique occurrence. According to the Farmer's Almanac, the last time that these two events fell on the same date was in the year 1948. The Strawberry Moon was named by early Native American Algonquin tribes, as a way of marking the peak of strawberry season, as well as when their other fruits were ready to be harvested. It is also called the Full Rose Moon and Honey Moon in places like Europe where strawberries are not grown. When looking up into the sky tonight, expect the moon to appear to be very low-hanging and a glowing golden-amber color.
If you don't happen to live in Colorado, you can find your exact sunrise and sunset times by using the Farmer’s Almanac Sunrise and sunset calculator.