The Strawberry Supermoon will light up the sky on Tuesday

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Step aside, baseball season. Never mind, beach season. For astronomy enthusiasts, this summer marks supermoon season.

On Tuesday evening, skywatchers will witness the first of three summer supermoons. A supermoon occurs when a full moon is also at its closest distance to Earth in its orbit, known as perigee. Supermoons appear brighter and larger to us on Earth, providing spectacular nighttime viewing if the sky is clear.

The moon will appear full beginning Sunday evening, but will technically reach full illumination Tuesday at 7:52 a.m. EST. Around 7:24 p.m. Tuesday, the moon will be close enough to Earth to be a supermoon. It will be within 222,238 miles of Earth (about 16,000 miles closer than its average distance) and could be about 7% larger and 15% brighter than an ordinary full moon.

While the criteria for a supermoon will be met on Tuesday, the moon will appear full and bright in the night sky Monday through Wednesday. Check timeanddate.com for local moonrise and moonset times.

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This month’s full moon will also be the lowest full moon of the year, hovering just 23.3 degrees above the horizon Wednesday at 1:56 a.m. Eastern Time, according to NASA . Binoculars, a telescope, or a great camera can help you spot craters and mountains on the lunar surface.

As the moon will appear larger and brighter, it will also accentuate low and high tides on Earth. Research suggests that decades of supermoons increase the risk of erosion on sandy beaches.

The June full moon is commonly known as the “strawberry” moon, a name given by the Native American Algonquin tribe in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada and describing the short strawberry harvest season in the region. European names include honeymoon and rose moon, referring to the harvesting of honey and the blooming of roses during this time.

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Although super moons are not extremely rare, they do not occur every month. A full moon occurs every 29.5 days, while the moon reaches perigee every 27 days, occasionally overlapping. The June supermoon follows another in May. Next month’s full moon, known as Buck Moon, will occur on July 13 and will also be a supermoon. The moon will be within 222,089 miles of Earth and is the closest supermoon of the year. The August Super Moon will occur around the 12th.

The Strawberry Super Moon is just an exciting celestial event that happens in June. The summer solstice on June 21 marks the astronomical end of spring and the beginning of summer. On June 24, before dawn, skywatchers can also see Earth’s five closest planetary neighbors in a row for the first time in 18 years.

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