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Full strawberry moon: Here’s when you can see it in Metro Vancouver

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Metro Vancouver skywatchers are in for a treat for summer solstice — a full strawberry moon rising as summer officially begins.

While it doesn’t peak until Friday, Thursday night may be the best time to see the moon, which will hang lower in the sky than usual. Thursday’s overnight forecast from Environment and Climate Change Canada calls for clear skies while Friday night may be partly cloudy.

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According to NASA, the June strawberry moon will appear full for about three days, starting Thursday night — on the summer solstice — and ending Sunday morning. The agency says it will be at its fullest at 6:08 p.m. PT on Friday.

Marley Leacock, an astronomer with the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, said for Metro Vancouver, it will rise in the southeast at 8:55 p.m. on Thursday night and 10 p.m. on Friday night.

She said this will be a fantastic view for anyone with a telescope.

“If you have a clear line of sight to it, and because it’s being illuminated by the sun so strongly, there’s a good chance to see some interesting features on the moon, especially like the little southern end of it, if you wanted to give that a try,” she said.

Leacock said because the full moon is also happening on the solstice, when the sun is highest in the sky, the moon will be very low in the sky.

“So in some areas on Earth, it won’t even clear the horizon. Some areas further north won’t see a moon at all,” she said, adding here in Metro Vancouver it should hang low to the horizon.

strawberry moon
A strawberry full moon at sunrise in Secret Cove on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. Photo: John Preissl Photo by John Preissl /sun

In the 1930s, the Farmer’s Almanac began publishing the Indigenous names for full moons, and the June full moon was named for the harvesting of strawberries, according to NASA.

Other old European names include honey moon, which may have to with harvesting honey in June, and rose moon, because this is the time of the year when the flower starts to bloom.

Thursday marks the first day of summer, with the summer solstice — or the longest day of the year — occurring shortly before 2 p.m. PT. According to the Weather Network it’s the earliest summer solstice in 228 years.

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