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Why the Moon is Bigger Right Now on Oregon Coast / Washington Coast - and Connected to Strawberries

Published 05/29/23 at 5:52 a.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Why the Moon is Bigger Right Now on Oregon Coast / Washington Coast - and Connected to Strawberries

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(Manzanita, Oregon) – Does the moon seem a lot bigger than usual in recent days? Are you just chomping at the bit to see what this looks like on the Oregon coast and Washington coast soon? (Above: moon and the pyramid-like rock above Manzanita. All photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

If the nighttime weather holds out on the beaches you're in for a treat. According to OMSI astronomy expert Jim Todd, the full moon that's coming up is called the Strawberry Moon. Showing up due south and not very high, those in the Pacific Northwest may have some issue seeing it. But due south is often easier to see from the Oregon / Washington coastlines.

The full moon nearest the summer solstice (June 21) is the lowest of the whole year, Todd said. This full moon occurs on June 3, and even though it will be at its highest, it's a meager 17 degrees high in the sky on that night.


That look the moon gets right now hovering just above points along the coastlines isn't quite what you think it is. Our lunar friend is not closer – it's an illusion called the Moon Illusion. According to NASA and Todd, it's a product of how we perceive it next to something. Normally, the moon is high above any Earthly object and we're used to that.

Scientists have long taken measurements of the moon at any place in the sky, and it's always the same width. Yet humans have been seeing this much longer with their own eyes and have a certain look stuck in their heads.

“Thus it's an illusion rooted in the way our brains process visual information,” NASA said on its website. “Even though we've been observing it for thousands of years, there's still not a satisfying scientific explanation for exactly why we see it.”

Those in Seattle can test it easily by getting to a place where the moon is next to the Space Needle. It will look bigger then when compared to where you've just seen it previously.

It will be skirting along quite low for its whole run this month, barely making 25 degrees above the horizon.

The Strawberry Moon, Todd said, had the same name throughout all the Algonquin tribes.

“However, in Europe, they called it the Rose Moon,” he said. “Also, the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes each year during June. So the full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry.”

Maybe pay homage to the moon the next time you're at one of those many farmer's markets along the Oregon coast and grab some fresh strawberries. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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