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The full Strawberry Moon, the last supermoon of 2021, rises tonight! Here’s what to expect

A past full moon of June, also known as the Strawberry Moon, looms above Earth's horizon in this undated photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station. The image was captured on June 17 as the space station was orbiting 254 miles (409 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Guam.
A past full moon of June, also known as the Strawberry Moon, looms above Earth's horizon in this undated photo taken by an astronaut at the International Space Station. The image was captured on June 17 as the space station was orbiting 254 miles (409 kilometers) above the Pacific Ocean northeast of Guam. (Image credit: NASA)

The first full moon of summer 2021, also known as the Strawberry Moon, rises tonight (June 24), marking the last supermoon of the year. 

June’s full moon arrives Thursday (June 24) at 2:40 p.m. EDT (1940 GMT). Technically, the moon will officially be full before it appears above the horizon, as the full moon rises in the eastern sky at 8:53 p.m. EDT (0053 Friday GMT). The moon will appear full for about three days, starting early Wednesday (June 23) morning through early Saturday (June 26) morning, according to a statement from NASA

Tonight’s full moon is also a supermoon, which occurs when the moon is at its closest point to Earth in its orbit, also known as perigee. In turn, the moon will look slightly bigger and brighter since it's closer to the Earth than usual. June’s Strawberry Moon is the second and last supermoon of the year. 

Related: June full moon 2021: See the 'Strawberry supermoon' shine

This year's Strawberry Moon closely follows the summer solstice, which occurred Sunday (June 20), marking the official start of summer. During the summer solstice of 2021, the sun was  at its highest and northernmost point in the sky of the year. As a result, full moons that occur near the summer solstice are lower in the sky because the moon is exactly opposite the sun during its full phase. In turn, the moon's low trajectory takes it through the lowest part of the atmosphere, giving the moon its reddish or amber-colored appearance. 

June's full moon is often referred to as the Strawberry Moon because it falls during the strawberry harvesting season in the northeastern U.S. Similarly, June's full moon has also been called the Rose Moon because it occurs around the time roses bloom.

A comparison of the apparent size of a perigee moon, or "supermoon," and an apogee moon (“minimoon”) as seen through Slooh's Half Meter Telescope at its Canary Islands Observatory in 2015. (Image credit: Slooh)

However, this month's full moon has also gone by several other names, including Mead Moon, Honey Moon, Flower Moon, Hot Moon, Hoe Moon, and the Planting Moon, all of which stem from European or Native American origin and represent various milestones of the summer season, according to NASA. 

The nicknames Mead Moon or Honey Moon represent the time in June when honey is ready for harvesting. Mead, or honey wine, is a drink created by fermenting honey mixed with water and sometimes with fruits, spices, grains or hops. Rising around the time honey is harvested, the June full moon is often considered the "sweetest" moon of the year. Subsequently, the term "honeymoon" can be traced back to the tradition of marrying in June and the joyfulness of the first month of marriage. 

Adding to the moon's list of monikers, a tribe community from the mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. calls the June full moon the LRO Moon, in honor of NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which launched toward the moon on June 18, 2009 and is still operating today. 

To celebrate tonight's full moon, Krispy Kreme released a new strawberry-themed doughnut today (June 24). The doughnut is filled with strawberry Kreme, dipped in strawberries and Kreme icing, and topped with graham crackers representing “moon dust." 

The Strawberry Supermoon doughnut is Krispy Kreme's latest space-themed treat, following the Mars doughnut, which was released earlier this year to celebrate the landing of NASA's Perseverance rover in February. 

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo or video that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact editor in chief Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Follow Samantha Mathewson @Sam_Ashley13. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook 

Samantha Mathewson joined Space.com as an intern in the summer of 2016. She received a B.A. in Journalism and Environmental Science at the University of New Haven, in Connecticut. Previously, her work has been published in Nature World News. When not writing or reading about science, Samantha enjoys traveling to new places and taking photos! You can follow her on Twitter @Sam_Ashley13. 

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