Did you see the moon last night? It was a clear night, and the moon was round and bright. It looked pretty fat and full to me, but the exact full moon will happen at 19: 05 UTC– or 2:05 p.m. here.
The full moon tonight is also called the Harvest Moon. This is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. This year, the Harvest Moon comes before the equinox on September 22, but it can occur in September or October. Next year, for example, the Harvest Moon will fall on October 5.
There will also be a brief penumbral eclipse, the shadow of the earth falling across the moon, but it won’t be visible in Chicago. You can watch the full moon and eclipse courtesy of SLOOH, here.
Thunderstorms are forecast for tonight, so we may not see much of the moon, either. But if there’s a break in the clouds, the sight could be especially dramatic!
The Harvest Moon is always special. While every full moon rises around sunset, and the moon rises about 50 minutes later on successive nights, it seems there are full moons for several nights around the time of the Harvest Moon.
Here’s why, according to EarthSky– “When a full moon occurs close to the autumnal equinox, the moon (at mid-temperate latitudes) rises only about 30 to 35 minutes later for several days before and after the full Harvest Moon.”
The reason is that the ecliptic–the moon’s orbital path–makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon around the time of the autumn equinox.
After the full Harvest Moon, you can see an almost-full moon rising soon after sunset for several days in a row. It’s the shortest interval between moonrises for the whole year.
It won’t feel much like fall, though, no crisp air and crunch of dry leaves. Not yet…
If you thought August was especially hot and muggy, you weren’t imagining it. NOAA reports August 2016 as the hottest month on record worldwide, and according to the National Weather Service, this could be the rainiest August ever in Illinois. Summer isn’t over, yet!
Here’s more information on the Harvest Moon tonight from EarthSky.
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