Summer Solstice

Image: Full Moon at the Summer Solstice.

Summer Solstice has rolled around again, and this year it occurs in conjunction with a full moon.

A full moon in June is called a “Strawberry Moon”, so named because strawberries become plentiful in this month. The Summer Solstice coinciding with a Strawberry Moon is a rare event. These two events haven’t occurred on the same day since 1967, and will not coincide again until 2062.

The Summer Solstice full moon is special in yet another way. It is the fourth of four full moons occurring between the March 2016 equinox and the June 2016 solstice. Usually, there are only three full moons in one season (between an equinox and solstice, or vice versa), but sometimes there are four.

The third of four full moons to take place in a single season is called a seasonal Blue Moon (in contrast to a Blue Moon defined as the second full moon in a calendar month). The most recent Blue Moon by the seasonal definition occurred on May 21, 2016, or one lunar month before this solstice full moon.

Summer Solstice is the longest day of the year, and is also considered the first day of summer. For us, this Summer Solstice marks a time when we can pause and be thankful that we have our gardens planted and our wells dug. We have been eating strawberries from our garden, the last of the wild salmonberries, and the first of the wild red huckleberries. And now we wait to see if the summer’s heat will bring a bountiful crop.