A rare astronomical event is happening tonight for the first time in decades
The longest day of the year is upon us.
This Monday brings the summer solstice, which marks the beginning of the season and a chance to soak in copious amounts of sunshine.
The solstice is celebrated by a variety of cultures worldwide. Every year, thousands gather at Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England, to rejoice the prospect of sunny summer days.
As if this day wasn’t already a wonderful excuse to run outside, Monday will also feature a full “Strawberry” moon — the name comes from the belief that strawberry-picking season is at its peak during this time of the year, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
Monday’s full moon, which is also called the Mead Moon or the Rose Moon, is the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all evening long. Normally, throughout the June month, the moon shares some time with the daytime sky, according to Sky & Telescope.
The full moon also marks an astronomical event that hasn’t happened since 1948, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac. That was the last time the full “Strawberry” moon “landed smack on” the June solstice.
The June solstice won’t coincide with a full moon again until June 21, 2062, based on calculations using Universal Time, according to EarthSky.
On June 20, the summer sun will reach its most northerly point, directly overhead at the Tropic of Cancer at 23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude. For North American time zones this event happens at 6:34 p.m. EDT, 5:34 p.m. CDT, 4:34 p.m. MDT, and 3:34 p.m. PDT, Sky & Telescope reports.
Some online calculators can help you figure out when sunrise and sunset will happen in your area.
This time of year is celebrated not only in different cultures, but also in literature.
“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer,” author F. Scott Fitzgerald writes in “The Great Gatsby.”