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Full Strawberry Moon Update – June 20, 4:02 AM PDT

June 19, 2016

Here’s another update from SMBAS Blog on that large, disc-like, shining object which has frequently and mysteriously appeared in our nighttime sky this year (known to many as the moon).

Full Strawberry Moon (Gören Strand 6/23/13 reproduced on

Full Strawberry Moon (Gören Strand 6/23/13 reproduced on

[Note: I found the above beautiful photo, by professional astrophotographer Göran Strand, on the NASA website. See many other of Göran’s astonishing photos at http://www.astrofotografen.seOn Friday the 13th, 2014, strangely enough, the moon rising over our Mt. Piños campsite was the same lovely rose-pink color.]

June 20, 4:02 a.m. PDTFull Strawberry Moon.   Known to every Algonquin tribe; strawberry picking peaks during this month. Europeans called it the Rose Moon or Honey Moon.  [Top 10 Amazing Moon Facts]

Santa Monica's Summer Solstice Sunset over the Santa Monica Mountains (Bob Gurfield 6/21/14)

Santa Monica’s Summer Solstice Sunset over the Santa Monica Mountains
(Bob Gurfield 6/21/14)

Long-time SMBAS member, prominent kayaker and alert reader, Bob Gurfield, reminded us of the fact that “Those of us who rise when the sun comes up should know that the latest (and earliest) sunrises do not occur on the solstices.”

Santa Monica's Winter Solstice Sunset over the ocean (Bob Gurfield 12/21/13)

Santa Monica’s Winter Solstice Sunset over the ocean (Bob Gurfield 12/21/13)

With use of information from Time and Date we constructed the following chart detailing sunrises & sunsets for three locales – Los Angeles, Anchorage and Bogota (Colombia).  Note that the “earliest’ time (either sunrise or sunset) always precedes the solstice. The closer you are to the equator, the longer the period of this earliest-to-latest date spread.  For example, around the summer solstice, Bogota, Colombia has 57 days between its earliest sunrise and latest sunset, Los Angeles has 16 days, Anchorage has only 3 days. Also note that the longest-to-shortest-day spread is very small near the equator; the difference for Bogota is only 32 minutes, 5 seconds. This is why in the tropics winter & summer are replaced by wet and dry seasons.

Sunrises & Los Angeles Anchorage Bogota
     Sunsets California Alaska Colombia
Latitude 34° 3′ 8” N 61° 13′ 5″ N 4° 36′ 0″ N
Earliest Sunset 12/04/13 – 1643 12/16/13 – 1540 11/09/13 – 1738
Winter Solstice 12/21/13 – 0911 12/21/13 – 0811 12/21/13 – 1211
Latest Sunrise 1/07/14 – 0659 12/25/13 – 1015 2/03/14 – 0612
Earliest Sunrise 6/12/14 – 0541 6/19/14 – 0420 5/22/14 – 0542
Summer Solstice 6/21/14 – 0351 6/21/14 – 0251 6/21/14 – 0551
Latest Sunset 6/28/14 – 2008 6/22/14 – 2342 7/18/14 – 1813
Earliest Sunset 12/04/14 – 1643 12/16/14 – 1540 11/10/14 – 1748
Winter Solstice 12/21/14 – 1503 12/21/14 – 1403 12/21/14 – 1803
Latest Sunrise 1/07/14 – 0659 12/26/14 – 1015 2/03/15 – 0612
Longest Day
6/21/2014 14h 25m 34s 19h 21m 31s 12h 23m 29s
Shortest Day
12/21/2014 9h 53m 03s 5h 27m 41s 11h 51m 24s
Difference 4h 32m 31s 13h 53m 50s 0h 32m 05s

Nowhere do the latest sunrise and sunset or earliest sunrise and sunset occur on the solstices (except perhaps exactly at the North or South Pole).   The reason for this is that the earth’s axis is not aligned with the minor axis of the earth’s orbit around the sun.   Over time the earth’s ecliptic precesses a tiny bit each year so that every 134,000 years the orbit makes a complete rotation with respect to the positions of the stars.   [This is not the same as the ‘precession of the equinoxes.’]

The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a page for each full moon. One tip: cut your hay on the 1st, 27th or 28th, and make haw while the sun shines.

The next significant full moon will occur on July 19, 3:56 PM PDT.   Keep an eye on this spot for additional late-breaking news on this unprecedented event.

This information comes to you courtesy of:
written by Joe Rao.   Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmer’s Almanac and other publications, and he is also an on-camera meteorologist for News 12 Westchester, N.Y.

But that’s waaay too long to type in, and besides, you don’t need to go there because SMBAS has done the work for you!
[Chuck Almdale]

One Comment
  1. ednalvarez permalink
    June 19, 2016 8:43 am

    Thanks, Chuck, for getting my brain shot into full gear this Sunday morning! Interesting.


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