“Bottom line: Each September and October, around the time of full moon, the moon rises around the time of sunset for several evenings in a row for us in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s almost as if the months of September and October each have several nights of full moon, instead of just one. This is the Harvest Moon phenomenon. In 2013, observe this phenomenon on the night around September 18-20. The September 18 moon is still a waxing gibbous moon when ascends in the east tonight just before sunset. But it will reach the crest of its full phase before dawn tomorrow (September 19) for most of us in the U.S.”– http://earthsky.org/tonight?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=f415162240-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-f415162240-393708781
During tonight’s viewing, if one goes out at moonrise (it will happen at sunset), one will get the feeling that the moon is much bigger, even bigger than the “Supermoon” back in June. The full moon back in June was when the moon was closest to us this year, which is why it appeared to be bigger. At moonrise tonight, the moon will appear to be even bigger, even though the it is farther away. This is what astronomers call, “Moon Illusion.”
“Sky watchers have known for thousands of years that low-hanging moons look unnaturally big. At first, astronomers thought the atmosphere must be magnifying the Moon near the horizon, but cameras showed that is not the case. Moons on film are the same size regardless of elevation: example. Apparently, only human beings see giant moons.
“Are we crazy?
“After all these years, scientists still aren’t sure. When you look at the Moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide on the retina in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot, yet the brain insists one is bigger than the other. Go figure.” — http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/16jun_moonillusion/
So just know that there really is nothing magical about our full moon tonight, even though our brains tells us so. One way to dispel the illusion is to try and pinch the moon with your index finger and thumb. You can even take a camera and the photo shot will show the moon the exact same size it normally is. But don’t do this, please. The magic is so much more fun!
With this, I leave you to your thoughts in peace.
- By the light of the Harvest Moon (michpics.wordpress.com)
- This is the week to get out and take a look at the Harvest Moon (nbcnews.com)
- 2013 Harvest Moon phenomenon begins September 18 (earthsky.org)
- Harvest moon rises Wednesday night (wwltv.com)
- Tonight’s Harvest Moon Is For The Birds … Really! (universetoday.com)
- This month’s Full Moon is also the Harvest Moon (wtvr.com)
- Harvest Moon Time (notestoponder.wordpress.com)
- NASA says the Harvest Moon will be in the night sky September 19th (clarksvilleonline.com)