Tonight, Tuesday 14 June, the moon will be looking bigger and brighter than usual thanks to an astronomical phenomenon known as ‘strawberry supermoon’. The term was adopted by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979, and it occurs when a full moon or new moon passes through its point of orbit closest to the Earth, which is known as its perigee. It can appear 14% bigger than usual and 30% brighter. Tonight, the moon will be just over 357,000 kilometres away.
Although the perigee occurs 13 times a year, in other words once every lunar month, the moon is only full on four of those occasions.
The supermoon can be seen from anywhere on the planet. In Spain, it will begin to appear at 1.52pm and will be at its best between 9 and 9.30pm, and again in the early hours of tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.
The best place to see it is from somewhere high up and without light contamination. If possible, use binoculars, a telescope or a camera with a large telephoto lens to see all the detail, say experts.
This is not known as a strawberry moon because of its colour: according to NASA it comes from early Native American farming tribes, because it occurred at the time of year when the strawberries begin to ripen.
Other names are also applied to the moon at times, such as the snow or hunger supermoon, when it coincides with heavy snowfall at this time of year in the northern hemisphere of the planet; the blue supermoon, referring to the third full moon between the solstice and equinox or the equinox and the solstice; the blood supermoon, which coincides with a total lunar eclipse; and the harvest or hunter’s supermoon, which occurs at the end of the summer.