June Brings Last Supermoon of 2021, Solar Eclipse, and More

Posted: May 30, 2021 8:45 am

May is wrapping up which means it is time to look ahead to the astronomical calendar for the month of June. While this month is known for having the shortest nights of the year if you live north of the equator, there is still plenty of beauty to behold in the skies. Here are a few of the major astronomical events for June.

Ring of Fire Solar Eclipse – June 10: It will have only been a little more than two weeks since the lunar eclipse of May when the sun, Earth, and the moon align once more to create a solar eclipse. This “ring of fire” solar eclipse will happen as the sun begins to rise on June 10. At daybreak, the moon will block part of the sun located over the northeastern US and eastern Canada.

Residents in cities such as Boston and Montreal may catch a glimpse of a brief partial solar eclipse if they are up early enough. A partial solar eclipse will also be visible in most of Europe around the middle of the day local time.

This particular eclipse is called a “ring of fire” eclipse because it happens when the moon is positioned farther away from the Earth than it usually is. Because of this distant position, it is not large enough to completely block out the sun. This makes this event different than a total solar eclipse when the entirety of the sun is blocked by the moon.

Note that it is never safe to look directly at the sun. For this reason, you will need specially designed eclipse glasses to safely watch the event unfold.

The last solar eclipse of the year will not happen until December 4. However, the location will mean that only those in Antarctica will be able to watch the event. If you live in the northeastern US, the “ring of fire” eclipse is not to be missed.

June Solstice – June 20: While there is nothing to see in particular with the annual June solstice, it is still a noteworthy event on the astronomical calendar. In 2021, the astronomical summer officially begins on June 20 at 11:32 pm EDT. The period ends on September 22 at 3:21 pm EDT. On the actual solstice, the sun’s most direct rays bear down on the Tropic of Cancer, providing more light than usual. This makes it the longest day of the year for those in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Once this date has passed, the days in the Northern Hemisphere will begin to gradually get shorter up until the December equinox of December 21. Conversely, the days in the Southern Hemisphere will slowly get longer after the summer solstice.

Supermoon – June 24 and 25: The third and last supermoon of the year will rise on June 24. This event will give off an abundance of nighttime illumination, making it a great time to plan an outdoor activity such as camping.

The first supermoon of the year was in April, followed shortly by another one in May, and now this last one in June. June’s full moon has other nicknames dating back hundreds of years, including the Strawberry Moon, the Hot Moon, the Blooming Moon, and the Green Corn Moon.

Electric Blue Clouds: June is also distinguished as being one of the few times of the year to see noctilucent clouds. This rare type of cloud floats at least 50 miles above the surface of the Earth, a much higher altitude than most cloud formations. Because of the unique blue color and shimmery effect of these clouds, they are sometimes called electric blue clouds.

While there is no specific date to look for the clouds, they will be the most visible in the far Northern Hemisphere during the weeks around the June solstice.