A rare treat at moonrise? Full moon, solstice and smoky skies

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Monday night’s full moon is coinciding with the summer solstice for the first time in decades. And with a smoke from area wildfires in the air, moonrise could be spectacular.

The moon will rise just after 9 p.m. on Monday, which is also the summer solstice. The solstice signals the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the first day of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

The longest day of the year occurs during the summer solstice when the North Pole is tilted toward the Sun which will have reached its northernmost position in the sky, according to SeaSky.org.

This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the “Strawberry Moon,” according to seasky.org, because it signaled the time of year to gather ripening fruit. It also coincides with the peak of the strawberry harvesting season.

In Europe, June’s full moon has been known as the “Rose Moon” and the “Honey Moon.”

The last time a full moon happened on the summer solstice was 1948, according to Space.com. The next full moon to occur on the summer solstice will be June 21, 2062.

For more star and sky events, see: Skywatcher Alert: 2016 night sky celestial events calendar

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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