Summer has just started, and skygazers already have a lot to look forward to next week, as the Saturn opposition and the so-called “Strawberry Moon” will be visible at around the same time. Earlier this month, the Inquisitr mentioned both events among June’s top celestial highlights, but with the month almost done and these two spectacles expected to be visible in just a few days from now, you may be wondering how you can check one or both out for yourself.
Although the name “Strawberry Moon” suggests that a bright red moon will be shining in the coming week, Inverse noted that this full moon isn’t named after its color, but rather after the fruit that Native Americans had hoped to pick a lot of on the East Coast. According to the publication, June’s full moon was named by the Algonquin tribes because it kicks off strawberry picking season and because it allowed tribespeople to “keep track of the changes in the landscape” during the summer months. Per Patch, it also goes by a variety of other names, including Rose Moon, Hot Moon, and Honey Moon.
According to Inverse, the Strawberry Moon will be visible on the night of June 27 and is expected to reach its full phase shortly after midnight of June 28, at around 12:53 a.m. Specifically, the moon will be located to the right of Saturn and northeast of a pair of bright stars, Sigma Sagittarlii and Kaus Australis, on June 27, according to a separate report from Gloucestershire Live.
As for Saturn, the ringed planet will be reaching the state of opposition on Wednesday, June 27, which means it will be at its closest to Earth, and, as pointed out by the Express, best viewed in the constellation of Sagittarius. Fortunately for skygazers, viewing the Saturn opposition won’t require any sophisticated equipment, as a solid, reliable set of binoculars should do the trick in most cases.
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“With a decent pair of binoculars you’ll be able to see that the object you are looking at is not the standard circle shape of a planet,” read a statement from Royal Observatory Greenwich quoted by the Express.
“With a small telescope, though, this shape will sharpen into the stunning rings that surround the planet. Made of tiny pieces of ice and rock, the rings are tens of thousands of kilometers across, but only about ten meters thick.”
In order to get the best view of Saturn in opposition, the Express suggested focusing toward the southern skies, about 10 degrees over the horizon. Inverse added that the ringed planet will be rising in the southeast around sunset and setting in the west by sunrise or thereabouts, with the best time to view it being shortly after midnight of June 28. Those who wouldn’t be able to catch it on that date, however, have up until September to see Saturn in opposition, unlike the one-night-only Strawberry Moon.