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– News – The Daily Reporter – Coldwater, MI


One can only speculate on the cosmic mysteries of the universe—and humans have spent millennia doing just that.

September’s full Moon is coming up, the so-called “Harvest Moon,” which is the full Moon nearest to the autumnal equinox (Sept. 23).

According to the Farmers’ Almanac, arrival of this year’s Harvest Moon will depend on which time zone you happen to live in. For those of us in the Eastern Time Zone, the moment the Moon turns full will occur just after midnight—at 12:33 a.m. on Saturday, the 14th. But if you live elsewhere in the country—in the Central, Mountain, or Pacific time zones—the moment that the Moon turns full comes before midnight on Friday, the 13th!

Interestingly, the last time this happened—June 13, 2014—it was the reverse of what will happen this month. It was a Friday, the 13th full Moon solely for the Eastern Time Zone, with the Moon turning full just after midnight; for the rest of the country, the full Moon was the day before, on Thursday, the 12th. Nationwide, we haven’t had a Friday the 13th full Moon since Oct. 13, 2000, and it won’t happen again until Aug. 13th, 2049!

It has been calculated that to have a full Moon occur on the 13th day of a particular month, and for that day to be a Friday, it is (on average) a once in 20-year occurrence.

Farmers’ Almanac reports that what sets this upcoming full Moon apart from the others is that farmers, at the peak of the current harvest season, can work late into the night by this Moon’s light. The Moon rises about the time the sun sets, but more importantly, at this time of year, instead of rising its normal average 50 minutes later each day, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night leading up to when it’s full.

For example, between Sept. 12 and 14, the rising of the Moon comes, on average, less than 27 minutes later each night, thus providing light for the farmer to continue gathering crops, even after the sun has set.

The reason for this seasonal circumstance is that at this time of the year, the path of the Moon through the sky is as close to being along the horizon as it can get. Thus, from night to night the Moon moves more horizontally than vertically and so rises sooner from one night to the next.

To add to this full Moon “madness,” this upcoming full Moon very nearly coincides with apogee—that point in its orbit which places it at its greatest distance from the Earth: 252,100 miles away. Last February, the full Moon coincided with perigee, its closest point to Earth. The Moon was more than 30,000 miles closer and was accordingly branded a “Supermoon.”

According to reports, this month’s full Moon will appear about 14 percent smaller, leading some to call it a “Micro” Moon. Many will claim that this year’s full Harvest Moon indeed appears to be smaller than usual. But without knowing in advance whether a full Moon of a given month might be branded either “Super” or “Micro,” the appearance of our natural satellite to most really won’t look all that much different.

No matter its size, since I was a child, I’ve remained moonstruck by its beauty. Whenever there’s an eclipse or some type of event about the Moon, I usually have my eyes skyward.

Luckily, my husband is just about as looney as I am about terrestrial happenings. We’ve been known to sit at the local airport in our lawn chairs to view whatever is projected to happen.

Here’s hoping for clear skies so anyone else who’s looney about the moon can get outside and enjoy it. And whether or not it happens on Friday the 13th, it’s mysteries still intrigue!

 

Nancy Hastings is a Daily News staff writer and can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @nhastingsHDN.



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