Harvest Moon marks the autumn equinox

USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: Harvest Moon through vog on Sept. 27, 2004
USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory: Harvest Moon through vog on Sept. 27, 2004

At 1:13 a.m. tomorrow morning, Sept. 19, 2013, the Harvest Moon will peak over Hawaii.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon before the autumnal equinox, which is on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. It’s called the Harvest Moon because farmers would be harvesting at this time of year and the moon provided extra light before electricity.

The Harvest Moon is different than other full moons. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later every day. However, when a full moon is close to the autumnal equinox, the moon rises about 30 to 35 minutes later. This is due to the moon’s orbital path being on a narrower angle with the horizon.

Because of this low angle, the moon will appear reddened by clouds and dust as well as look larger due to an optical illusion.

“When you add these effects together the Harvest Moon often looks like a great pumpkin.” – NASA

Although the peak will be after midnight tonight, you can enjoy the Harvest moon on Sept. 18, 19, and 20.

  • Moonrise: 6:05 p.m.
  • Moonset: 5:36 a.m.

Video from http://science.nasa.gov

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