Have you ever tried taking a photo of the moon or the stars, only to be royally disappointed how the photo doesn’t match what you see with your eyes? It was me Thursday night, June 24, as I gazed at the night sky on what many call the “Strawberry Moon.”
The Strawberry Moon is the name of the last full moon in spring or the first full moon in summer. It was given its fruity name because it corresponds to the time of year when the berries ripen, according to nasa.gov. However, the name does not mean that the Moon is red, although it does have a reddish color when it rises and sets. According to NASA, this year the Strawberry Moon was closer and larger than an average full moon. When this happens, it can also be referred to as a Super Moon. This particular Super Moon on Thursday was the last Super Moon of 2021.
I have long been fascinated by everything relating to space. As a child, I remember going to the Minnesota Science Museum with my family and starting to learn about the stars above us. I would watch and revisit an educational VHS movie I got from the outer space museum. I had moon posters on my bedroom wall and shiny star stickers on my ceiling. My dream was to someday have a telescope that I could look outside of myself to get a more precise glimpse of what I was learning.
Fast forward to August 21, 2017, when my sister, fiancé and I all took a road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska to see the solar eclipse. A solar eclipse is the moment when the Moon comes between the Earth and the Sun. This can only happen during a New Moon and at that time the Moon casts a shadow on the Earth blocking the Sun.
With our official Solar Eclipse goggles handy, we were able to find a quiet spot sitting on the grass outside a Lincoln park where many other people gathered to view the phenomenon. In fact, the solar eclipse lasted less than two minutes. Compare that to our seven hour drive and some might think it wouldn’t be worth it. But for space enthusiasts like me, every second spent witnessing this rare sight was worth it.
I may not be an astronaut or someone who works at NASA, but my interest in space has remained constant all my life. I now enjoy watching documentaries about the Earth and the cosmos, looking at the night sky and identifying constellations, and going to museums to continue to discover the universe around us. And although I haven’t realized my dream of owning my own telescope, I can still enjoy what my own eyes can see. Unfortunately, my phone’s camera just isn’t able to capture the same image.