On this page, we’re looking at everything to do with the moon for astronomers this month. If you need more info on March’s planet activity, click here.

The Moon In June

We begin the month again with dark skies and a waning crescent moon.  The New Moon occurs on June 6, which allows for some fantastic dark sky observing during the first two weeks of the month.

The first quarter moon is at its farthest distance from earth, and can be seen low in the south-western skies during the early evening on June 14th, setting shortly after midnight.

A waxing gibbous moon takes us into the latter half of the month, with the full moon appearing on June 21st, rising in the sky just after sunset.  We will continue to see a bright moon, until the last few days of the month when the illumination subsides and it becomes a waning crescent moon on the 30th, seen at only 32% illumination.

Moon Name

June’s full moon is known as the Strawberry Moon, which was used as a signal to harvest the ripening strawberries, and originally defined as such by the Native American tribes.  This year we will see the Strawberry Moon on the evening of June 21st, within the constellation Capricorn. 

A strawberry moon
June’s full moon is known as the strawberry moon (AI image)

In different cultures and religions, it can also be known as the Honey Moon or the Rose Moon, and is associated with changes occurring in nature during the early summer months.

Viewing Summary

Dark EveningsDark MorningsDark NightEvening MoonMorning MoonLib’s
1-5, 24-304-121-68-2020-289, 22, 24, 26
Evenings = 8pm to midnight, mornings = midnight to 4am, all night = 9pm to 3am (sunrise/set is ignored, moonset/rise hour is included)

Moon Phases, Rise & Set Times

Whether you are planning to observe the moon, or you want to make sure to avoid it, use the table below to discover when the moon will be above the horizon this month. The ‘Illumination’ column shows how bright it is going to be – the higher the %, the brighter the moon.

Moon Table Notes

  • A=Apogee (furthest approach), P=Perigee (closest approach), FQ=First Quarter, LQ=Last Quarter
  • All times are for Kansas City (DST). However, these times will be approximately accurate for your local time zone wherever you are in the northern hemisphere. For example, if you live in London, UK, the moonrise and set times will be no more than an hour different from those shown in the table above.
  • There are two moonrise columns in the table, this is because each day is timed from midnight to midnight. On some days in the month the moon is already in the sky at midnight, therefore it sets first before rising again later in the day. On other days, the moon is below the horizon at midnight. On those days it rises first before setting later in the day.
  • The data in the table comes from timeanddate.com

Visualization Of The Moon’s Impact

The following chart shows a visualisation of when the moon is above the horizon and below. This should make it easier for you to plan which nights offer the darkest skies and which provide the best opportunity for observing the moon itself.


First & Last Quarter Moon Locations

The two pictures below, from SkySafari 6, show the last and first quarter moons available to us in June.

We’ll see it reach last quarter on 13 June, when the moon will be passing through Leo. Last quarter is always best viewed in the morning, when the moon is higher in the sky. The image below shows the moon’s location at 10:00 pm when it will be 40° over the southern horizon.

First quarter, which is better for lunar gazers outside in the evening, happens on the 28th of June. The second star chart below reveals that the moon is in Pisces that night, very close to the Pleiades, and 42° above the southwest horizon at 5:00 am.

Click on the pictures for full screen versions.

Last quarter moon, 10:00 pm on June 13th (click for full screen)
First quarter moon, 5:00 am on June 28th (click for full screen)

Librations

The moon wobbles as it orbits Earth. These wobbles are known as librations and they show us parts of the Moon’s surface which are usually on the ‘dark side’. This means that we can actually see around 59% of the lunar surface over the course of a month. Keen moon watchers look for these librations so they can spy craters not normally visible to us.

The best librations for June occur on the 22nd and 24th of the month.  The libration on June 22nd provides an incredible view due to the recent full moon and allows us to see the intricate details of the north and north-west areas.  The views on the 24th are equally exceptional, although we lose sight of some of the eastern side, due to the waning gibbous moon. Learn more about librations here on Love the Night Sky (opens a new tab).

More information on how to read the images is provided at the bottom of this page.

Libration for 9 June 2024
Libration for 22 June 2024
Libration for 24 June 2024
Libration for 26 June 2024

Guide to libration images

Where the two blue lines cross shows the center of the lunar surface when there is no libration. The blue dot shows the center of the Moon’s surface, i.e. where the Earth would appear overhead if you were standing on the lunar surface. The yellow dot (cone) shows where the Sun is overhead.

Use the images above to see where each libration occurs this month and how large it is. Firstly, imagine a line running from the crossed blue lines and through the center of the blue dot. Extend this line on to the edge of the Moon’s surface. Where the line meets the edge is where the libration is most noticeable, this is shown as a red arrowhead in the diagram on the right.

Secondly, to see how large the libration is, note the distance between the crossed blue lines and and the blue dot. This is shown as the double-headed green arrow in the diagram. The larger this distance, the more of the ‘dark side’ of the Moon we can see.

Improve your moon observing skills, with our Guide to The Lunar 100

The images above are generated on this NASA website.

Click for full-size version

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