This Year’s Harvest Moon

According to Earth Sky News, tonight in North America, there will be a full moon, but this full moon will be the one closest to the Fall Equinox, therefore, it is what is called the Harvest Moon.

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“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.”

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“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.

–Seoc Dùghlas

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About Ozark GaelicSeoc

An American happily married male, born in Missouri but currently living in Arkansas, native to the Ozark plateau, practicing a Gael-Teutonic (Indo-European) religion based upon studying reality through the eyes of Nature and Spirit. In this, my philosophy is similar to the American Indian, before they had any European contact. Life is a wonderful journey filled with mysteries. Though I haven't got all these things figured out, it sure is fun going through the process of discovery and adventure! Welcome to my blog pages!
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