Not only is today Friday the 13th, but a rare full moon will be on full display this evening.
The so-called Harvest Moon will be in full view tonight. The Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox, or the start of fall, which begins Sept. 23.
According to the Farmers Almanac, 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,” the Farmers Almanac states. “For example, between September 12th and 14th, 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.”
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 Earth: 252,100 miles away. Remember last February, when 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.”
But this month’s full Moon will appear about 14 percent smaller, leading some to call it a “Micro” Moon.
It is almost certain that many will claim that this year’s full Harvest Moon indeed appears to be smaller than usual. But the truth of the matter is, that 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 doesn’t look all that much different.