Breathtaking views as the famous ‘Harvest Moon’ wows moonwatchers around the world

Have you seen the “Harvest Moon?”

Once one of the most iconic full moons of the calendar year, the September Harvest Moon was best seen at moonrise on the evening of Saturday, September 10, 2022.

For some, the appearance of a beautiful orange orb in the east at dusk was tinged with sadness just days after the second delay in a week of NASA’s Artemis I mission to the Moon. This delay could be long.

A Full Moon is the phase of our natural satellite in space when fully illuminated by the Sun from our vantage point on Earth. Last full moon of the Northern Hemisphere summer season, the Harvest Moon rose in the east just after sunset, shone overnight, and set in the west near sunrise .

The Harvest Moon is one of the most well-known full moons of the entire year, perhaps because its name is used throughout the northern hemisphere where crops are harvested at this time of year.

The Harvest Moon is always the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox, which will occur at 01:04 UTC on September 23, 2022. It marks the point where the midday sun is directly overhead the equator, giving at every location on the planet 12 hours. daylight and 12 hours of darkness.

What was unique about this weekend’s Harvest Moon was that it shone just under 3° from Neptune, allowing those with binoculars to try and get a glimpse of the eighth planet from the sun.

Tonight – Sunday September 11, 2022 – look east one hour after sunset tonight, see a waning gibbous moon 96% illuminated at around 4º below a very bright planet Jupiter. The giant planet will reach its annual “opposition” in a few weeks, which is when it shines at its brightest for the year.

Although the Moon’s brightness waxes and wanes, it is still orange as it rises and sets. This is due to “Raleigh scattering”. Long-wavelength red light travels more easily through Earth’s atmosphere than short-wavelength blue light, which hits more particles and scatters.

So a rising full moon looks orange because you see it through a lot of atmosphere, for the same reason a setting sun looks reddish.

The next Full Moon is the “Hunter’s Moon” on Sunday, October 9, 2022. After that, it’s the “Beaver Moon” on Monday, November 8, 2022. This Full Moon will drift into Earth’s shadow in space. , causing a total lunar eclipse. The Full Moon will then take on a reddish color for 84 minutes.

You don’t need any special equipment to see the full moon – your own unaided eyes are fine. However, if you have a pair of binoculars, have them ready for a stunning close-up. You will see it more easily if you arrive somewhere high, or on a beach with a clear view of the horizon.

I wish you clear skies and big eyes.

About William Moorhead

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