A rare conjunction of events occurred last Friday. First, with the sun’s path across the sky at its highest during this month of the summer solstice, the moon is at its lowest, which keeps the lunar orb close to the horizon and makes it appear more amber than other full moons this year, hence the term honey moon. Second, because its orbit around the Earth is egg-shaped, there are times in the lunar cycle when the moon is at its shortest distance from Earth (called perigee), some 224,976 miles (362,065 kilometers) away; this month the perigee just happens to coincide with the moon’s full phase. Third, a full moon coinciding on Friday the 13th is not all that uncommon, occurring every three or so years—but the combination of a honey moon and Friday the 13th is rare, last occurring on June 13, 1919, according to the popular astronomy site Universe Today, and we’ll have to wait until June 13, 2098, for the next one. I made this photo from a small nearby park that gave me a clear view of the moon with a few pines in the foreground. I’d sure love to know how much more rare it is to have a cloudless sky as well!
Interestingly, astronomer Bob Berman says that the honey-hued moon, which always occurs in June around the summer solstice, may have given us the modern term “honeymoon,” with weddings traditionally held in June in some cultures. [BTW, thanks to the National Geographic for most of the explanatory information in the first paragraph.]