Father's Day Strawberry Full Moon Will Be Special Because of Jupiter

This Sunday is Father's Day, and it's set to be a particularly special one for skywatchers as a full moon will coincide with Jupiter shining brightly.

The moon will technically be at its fullest around 4:30 a.m. EDT June 17. However, it will still appear fully illuminated from Saturday to Tuesday morning, according to NASA.

This phenomenon occurs roughly every once a month when the Earth is positioned between the sun and the moon. In this situation, the face of the moon that we can see is fully lit up by our star, appearing like a perfect circle.

Traditionally, the full moon in June—the last of spring—is referred to as the "full strawberry moon" in North America, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, which has been published since 1792. The name originates from the Algonquin Native American group and is a reference to the fact that this time of year was when strawberries were ripe for harvesting in the northeast of the continent—their homeland.

The full strawberry moon is also referred to as the "mead" or "honey moon" in Europe. This is a reference to mead—an alcoholic beverage made with fermented honey and various, fruits, spices, grains or hops. Some research indicates that June was considered to be the best time to harvest honey from bees, according to NASA.

The practice of naming full moons in this way goes back to ancient times when people relied on the lunar calendar to track the passing of the seasons.

The full moon will not be the only treat this Father's Day. Coincidentally, Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, will also be particularly large and bright around this time.

NASA says that the gas giant will rise at dusk and remain visible all night with the naked eye. However, for an enhanced viewing experience, it is recommended to use binoculars or a small telescope, in which case you may just be able to catch a glimpse of one of the planet's four largest moons, or perhaps its characteristic cloud bands.

Jupiter is appearing particularly large and bright around this time because it is closer to our planet than usual.

In fact, on June 12, Jupiter came closer to our planet than it will do at any other point in 2019, according to EarthSky. At its closest approach, it came within 398 million miles of the Earth.

Just two days before this, Jupiter reached "opposition." This refers to the annual occurrence when Jupiter, the Earth and the sun are all arranged in a straight line, with our planet in the middle.

full moon
A full moon rises over Asuncion, Paraguay, on February 19, 2019. AFP/Getty Images/NORBERTO DUARTE