Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Solstice and Strawberry Full Moon on June 20: Lesson Plans, Live Streams, Videos and More

It's June 20, and there is a rare combination of the summer solstice and a strawberry full moon. June 20 is the official first day of summer and the solstice means that the noonday sun will be at its highest position this year. As the summer sun rises to its highest point, today will be the day of the year that has the most or longest amount of sunlight. As the summer solstice means the sun is at its highest point, likewise the moon is at its lowest. Tonight's moon happens to be  a full moon, making the first day of summer a rare event.

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Native Americans named the 12 full moons each year according to harvests, seasons and as a way of marking time. Tonight's full moon is the strawberry moon as it signified a time when in June, Native Americans would prepare to gather the
strawberry crops.

The website Take Back Space TV is live streaming the full moon on both June 19 and June 20. You can see the live stream as it aired in the video below. will also stream the strawberry full moon live on June 20. They are a subscription site that offers members access to live astronomy viewing online. They are offering a deal where you can register for free, but their basic plan is $4.95 per month. Make sure to check out the terms of service and understand that if you register, you will be charged next month. Here is a link to their live schedule: Slooh

Slooh and the Farmer's Almanac joined forces and in addition to the live streaming coverage of the strawberry full moon, astronomer Bob Berman (Farmer's Almanac) will discuss the rare event. The last strawberry moon to occur during the summer solstice was in  1967, according to Earth Sky Astronomy Essentials.

Lesson Plans, Videos and More

  • This interactive animation lets users see how much sunlight planet Earth receives as it revolves around the sun. It takes Earth one year to make a full revolution around the sun.
  • Earth rotates on a tilted axis and orbits the sun: This teaching guide explores equinoxes and solstices (PDF)