The month of June has a richness to it. It’s a time of great abundance. On June 13 through June 14th we have the last full moon before summer begins, it’s called the Strawberry Full Moon. It will be at peak fullness about 8 am on the morning of June 14, just at a time when it isn’t visible! However it will look just as full and bright the evening before. It is a supermoon, which means it is orbiting at least 90% closer to earth. It will appear bigger and brighter!
Native Americans named this moon for a time of gathering ripe strawberries. I’m sure it had to be one of their favorite times of year! Others have called it Rose Moon. And why not? Our gardens are overflowing with beautiful roses in June! Still others have called it Mead Moon or Honey Moon.
What is mead anyway? It is a beverage made by fermenting honey along with other ingredients. You can add water, fruits, spices, grains or hops. It’s not a beer or a wine but in a class by itself. With 300 unique types of honey worldwide it is the most diverse drink around. It can change flavor depending on the type of honey, the time of year, the aging process, and the other ingredients added. It is also the oldest known alcoholic beverage in world history. Traces of it have been found in vessels dating back to 6500-7000 B.C. Mead was served at weddings and gifted to newlyweds. It is credited for the term “honeymoon.”
In June we have the summer solstice which is June 21 and it is the longest day of the year and the start of the summer season. There are many major celebrations worldwide to usher in summer. In Stonehenge, England, many come to see the sun rise perfectly behind the Heel Stone during the summer solstice. This prehistoric circle of stones is still a mystery of construction and purpose.
The summer solstice doesn’t give us our earliest sunrise time, nor our hottest day. Our earliest sunrise (6:32 am) is closer to June 14, a week before the solstice. And our hottest day is yet to come. The temperature heats up more in July and August than in June. It is all due to the tilt of the earth’s axis.
Also our latest sunset time is not on the longest day of the year either! It is closer to the first week of July. (Sunset at 8:31 pm) I love all these late sunsets! Did you know that astrologists have even divided the twilight into three different stages? It is all based on the number of degrees that the sun has slipped below the horizon.
Twilight occurs when the sun is below the horizon but there is still some scattered light which reaches our atmosphere. Civil twilight is the first stage and happens just after sunset. It can last up to 30 minutes or so. We call it dusk. The sun is out of sight but it is not yet 6 degrees below the horizon. We still have quite a bit of light. If we are lucky sometimes clouds provide beautiful shading. We can still see outside. We can walk around without the aid of a flashlight.
The next stage is nautical twilight when the sun is between 6 and 12 degrees below the horizon. It is a bit darker, but ships at sea can spot a faint horizon. A few of the brightest stars are visible in the sky. A ship’s captain can use the placement of stars against the horizon and navigate his ship.
Finally comes astronomical twilight. It is nearly dark. The center of the sun’s disk is 12 to 18 degrees below the horizon. To our naked eye it really looks like night but astronomers can tell the difference. Some light is slipping through. Astronomical twilight is what we call the first beginnings of dawn in the morning. It is the final minutes of dusk at night. Many stars will be out. If there is a moon we will notice it. On June 14 the Strawberry Full Moon will be big and bright!