Saturn and the Strawberry Moon Are Teaming up for a Must-see Show Tonight
As you may already know, the United States will experience the Strawberry Moon on June 27 and 28 — but that's not the only reason to look up at the sky tonight.
The Strawberry Moon, the first full moon that falls during strawberry season, will hit its peak fullness on Wednesday, June 27 at 9:53 p.m PT and on Thursday, June 28 at 12:53 a.m. ET.
According to Inverse, the Strawberry Moon will come with an intergalactic tagalong, Saturn, which will also be hitting its opposition on Wednesday night. That means Saturn will be at its brightest and closest point to Earth this year.
Tonight, Inverse explained, "Earth's orbit will bring the planet in between Saturn and the sun, which will place Saturn opposite the sun in Earth's sky and create a rare opportunity to observe the ringed planet throughout the night." The planet, it added, will rise in the southeast sky around sunset before setting in the west around sunrise.
And if that's not enough celestial excitement for you, in late July stargazers will also get an unparalleled view of Mars as the red planet makes its closest approach to Earth in 15 years. According to The Weather Channel, on July 31, Mars will move within 35.8 million miles of Earth. At that time, anyone with even a small telescope will be able to check out some of the planet's unique features.
"This Martian pass in July will be almost as good as the ultra-close opposition on 2003," Dean Regas, an astronomer for the Cincinnati Observatory, explained to Mother Nature Network. "Mars will easily be visible to the naked eye. In fact, you will be hard pressed to miss it. It will look like a glowing orange beacon of light rising in the southeast after sunset. It'll be much brighter than any star, brighter than Jupiter, nearly as bright as Venus. And you'll see it every night for the next several months."
To help you get the best view of the Strawberry Moon, Saturn, and Mars, try planning a trip to one of the darkest places in the country. Just make sure to pack a blanket, a few late-night snacks, and maybe some binoculars.