Just when I got home, I was planning to have a quite evening to work on some stuff, until I saw a tweet from one of my friends calling out the “Honey Moon” of tonight. WTF. What does that mean? Turns out tonights full moon is pretty special, once in a life time special. And little me being interested in the daily astronomy, I found this clear explanation:
This Friday the 13th will be extra-beautiful (or creepy, depending on your perspective) because this month’s full moon coincides with its perigee—when it’s closest to earth during its orbit—so it will appear super large on the horizon. Pair that with the June summer solstice—when the sun cuts its highest path in the sky—and a smattering of atmospheric dust and pollution, and the whole thing will give off an amber—or “honey”—hue.
It was already too late to drive across the Golden Gate bridge to take pictures of the Honey Moon with the best skyline of San Francisco, but at least I could take the pictures from my back patio. What do you think?
One reason this celestial event got its nickname in the 1550s was due to the large amount of weddings held in June around this lunar cycle. The nickname also represents the amber – or honey – color of this month’s full moon.
A full moon looks full because it is directly opposite the sun. In June, the sun is highest in the sky in the Northern Hemisphere, so therefore, the moon is lowest in the sky. It is this position in the sky that gives the June full moon its honey glow. “Whenever the moon is low in the sky, we see it through a thick atmosphere and that turns it red or yellow or orange, just like the setting sun,” explained Alan MacRobert of Sky & Telescope.