Short-Night Moon

StarDate: June 7, 2009

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The full Moon scoots across the sky tonight. It's known as the Flower Moon, Rose Moon, or Strawberry Moon. But another good name might be the Short Moon, because it's on display for less time than any other full Moon of the year -- only about eight or nine hours from most of the Lower 48 states.

Keep in mind that the full Moon does just the opposite of what the Sun does in our sky.

Since we're just a couple of weeks away from the summer solstice, these are the longest days of the year, so the Sun remains above the horizon for a long time -- 14 or 15 hours for most of the country. It also appears farthest north for the year, so it sails highest across the sky.

But the Moon does just the opposite. Since the days are long, the nights are short. As a result, the full Moon is in view for only a few hours. And since the Sun climbs high in the sky, the Moon remains fairly low. It's still well above the horizon, but not as high as during the winter months, when it sails overhead.

Those at more southerly latitudes will see the most moonlight -- around nine hours. But those in Montana, Minnesota, or other northerly states will see the Moon for less than eight hours. And from Anchorage, Alaska, the Moon will barely hang around long enough for a cup of coffee -- it'll set less than three hours after it rises.

The exact time of full Moon, by the way, is 1:12 Central Daylight Time this afternoon.

Tomorrow: rocketing into space.

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2009

For more skywatching tips, astronomy news, and much more, read StarDate magazine.

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