Leeanna McLean | The Weather Network

Every year as summer comes to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, the September full moon rises and because it occurs closer to the autumnal equinox than the October full moon, it’s called the Harvest Moon.

Here are 7 fun facts about this week’s Harvest Moon.

  1. Full moons have names corresponding to calendar months or seasons of the year, which dates back to early Native American tradition. Distinctive names were given to each recurring full moon so tribes were able to keep track of the seasons. As a result, the September full moon is also called the “Full Corn Moon,” because it marks when corn was supposed to be harvested.
  2. Depending on the year, the Harvest Moon can come anywhere from two weeks before or two weeks after the autumn equinox.
  3. On average, the moon rises 50 minutes later each day. However, for several days before and after the full Harvest Moon, it rises 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.
  4. Friday’s spectacle will also be a supermoon, that is, when the moon is full, it is within 90 per cent of its closest distance to Earth for the month. However, this isn’t the closest full moon of 2016. That doesn’t occur until Nov. 14.
  5. While people may say Friday’s Harvest Moon will look bigger than usual, that is certainly not the case. When the moon is seen low on the horizon, the human eye and brain combine to create an optical illusion known as the moon illusion, whereby the moon viewed close to the horizon seems larger than when seen overhead. Cover the moon with a dime at arm’s length and you will see there is no difference.
  6. This year’s Harvest Moon is special because it will also be a penumbral lunar eclipse as it passes through the outer edge of the Earth’s shadow. This means, we won’t see the glorious crimson of a total lunar eclipse. However, it will be visible to varying degrees anywhere in eastern Europe, eastern Africa, most of Asia and western Australia.
  7. The last time the Harvest Moon perfectly coincided with the autumnal equinox was in 2010 and this won’t happen again until 2029. The 2016 Strawberry Moon was the first to coincide with the June solstice in decades, and the first to be visible in all of Canada since 1948.

This must-see will fill the sky on Sept. 16.

Photo Credit – Courtesy: Thomas Goray — September 26, 2015 — Ladywood, Manitoba


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