Sweet! Rare Strawberry 'Minimoon' Makes for Stunning Photos

It may not be sweet, but it sure is mini! A rare Strawberry "Minimoon" gave night-sky photographers a treat last week. 

The full moon of June, also known as the Strawberry Moon, coincided with the "smallest" moon of the year. Of course, the moon is always the same size. However, its elliptical orbit brings it closer and farther from Earth, making it appear bigger and smaller in the sky. 

This infographic by astrophotographer Tony Surma-Hawes shows the apparent size difference between the "supermoon" of Nov. 14, 2016, and the "minimoon" on June 9, 2017. During a supermoon, the moon looks bigger because it is closer to Earth. A minimoon appears smaller because the moon is at its apogee, or the most distant point in its orbit. (Image credit: Tony Surma-Hawes)

On Friday (June 9), the moon reached its peak full phase about 15 hours after it reached apogee, or the farthest point to Earth in its orbit. [10 Surprising Lunar Facts]

In Esterhøj, Denmark, photographer and videographer Adrien Mauduit captured a time-lapse video of the Strawberry Moon rising over Esterhøj, Denmark on June 10. Bad weather delayed his photo shoot by a day, so the moon is actually 99 percent waning gibbous in the photo. 

Adrien Mauduit captured this photo of the waning gibbous moon over Esterhøj, Denmark, on June 10, one day after the Strawberry Moon was at its fullest. (Image credit: Adrian Mauduit Photography & Film)

Other photographers juxtaposed the moon with cityscapes of New York. Stan Honda set up his camera at the Eagle Rock Reservation in New Jersey, about 13 miles (21 kilometers) from the city, and captured an airplane descending toward Newark Liberty International Airport with the World Trade Center and the Strawberry Moon in the background. 

But the minimoon looks more like a supermoon in Honda's photo. It's not a composite, but rather a photography trick. "The lens focal length and the distance from NYC allows the moon to be large in relation to the skyline," Honda told Space.com in an email. [Supermoon vs. Minimoon: Sizing Up Earth's Satellite]

As the Strawberry Minimoon rises over New York City, a British Airways plane descends toward Newark Liberty International Airport in this photo taken by Stan Honda on June 9. (Image credit: Stan Honda)

Another photographer from New York captured the minimoon looking more appropriately miniature. Gowrishankar L. watched the moon rise over the Brooklyn Bridge. With a Canon 5D Mark III camera, he created a composite image of the moon with 14 shots taken in 3-minute intervals between 9 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. local time on June 9, he told Space.com in an email. Using a tool called The Photographer's Ephemeris, he set up the shot so that the moon would be on top of the bridge. 

The Strawberry Minimoon rises over New York's Brooklyn Bridge in this composite by astrophotographer Gowrishankar L. on June 9. (Image credit: Gowrishankar L.)

Another photo from New York City taken by astrophotographer John Entwistle shows a time-lapse of the moon rising over the World Trade Center. By stacking six images taken 125 seconds apart, Entwistle was able to capture the moon as it moved by one full diameter with each shot. "You can also see how the color of the moon changing as it rises from the horizon," he told Space.com in an email.

The full Strawberry Moon rises over Manhattan in this photo taken by John Entwistle on June 9. (Image credit: John Entwistle)

Editor's note: If you capture an amazing photo of the next full moon and want to share it with Space.com for a story or gallery, please send images and comments to managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Email Hanneke Weitering at hweitering@space.com or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com .

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Hanneke Weitering
Contributing expert

Hanneke Weitering is a multimedia journalist in the Pacific Northwest reporting on the future of aviation at FutureFlight.aero and Aviation International News and was previously the Editor for Spaceflight and Astronomy news here at Space.com. As an editor with over 10 years of experience in science journalism she has previously written for Scholastic Classroom Magazines, MedPage Today and The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. After studying physics at the University of Tennessee in her hometown of Knoxville, she earned her graduate degree in Science, Health and Environmental Reporting (SHERP) from New York University. Hanneke joined the Space.com team in 2016 as a staff writer and producer, covering topics including spaceflight and astronomy. She currently lives in Seattle, home of the Space Needle, with her cat and two snakes. In her spare time, Hanneke enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, basking in nature and looking for dark skies to gaze at the cosmos.