Here comes the Harvest Moon! The moon is already big and bright in the clear night sky. And isn't there already an autumnal feel in the air? At Walgreens, across the aisle of school supplies, the shelves are filled with Halloween candy.
The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. This year, the equinox falls on September 23.
What makes the Harvest Moon special is that the moon rises about 30 minutes later (instead of the usual 50 minutes) on successive nights because of the angle of the ecliptic in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere. So, it appears to be a full moon for several nights in a row.
When people were more connected to these natural rhythms, and before artificial lights, the harvest moons would provide more hours of light for working in the fields.
Will this Harvest Moon be extra-special, even bigger and brighter? The full moon on September 8-9 is also the third of the super summer moons, this year. This full moon comes one month after the year's closest full moon on August 10--a proxigee full moon. The full moon on Sept. 8-9 is also considered a supermoon--a perigee full moon.
Does the Harvest Moon look more orange? Here's how EarthSky explains it--
After sunset around any full moon, the moon will always be near the horizon. It’ll just have risen. It’s the location of the moon near the horizon that causes the Harvest Moon – or any full moon – to look big and orange in color.
The orange color of a moon near the horizon is a true physical effect. It stems from the fact that – when you look toward the horizon – you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere than when you gaze up and overhead. The atmosphere scatters blue light – that’s why the sky looks blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light most effectively, but it lets red light pass through to your eyes. So a moon near the horizon takes on a yellow or orange or reddish hue.
However you look at it, this full moon will be something special for nights to come. Why not go out and enjoy it?
And coming in October--the second of four Blood Moons....
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