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Arizona residents can get a view of the Harvest Moon next month


Each month we experience the beauty of a full moon!

Once, every 29.53 days on average, the moon returns to another new or full moon.

This is known as the synodic month. We tend to not see or notice the new moon, as this occurs when the moon is quite close to the sun and is only experienced by observers when we witness a partial or total solar eclipse.

We do not experience a solar eclipse each month, due to the fact that the orbit of the moon is inclined some 5.14 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic.

The same is true for eclipses of the moon, as they are also related to this type of celestial lineup with the Earth, Sun and Moon.

The time that it takes for the moon to complete one revolution around the background stars in the sky, is referred to as a sidereal month. A sidereal month is 27.3 days.

A full moon in the night sky can bring us to some amazing thoughts of happiness and love, as well as some strange feelings too!

Since ancient times, the full moon of each calendar month has brought with it some amazing names.

Native American culture has brought us the names of each calendar month’s full moon, with great names like, the Full Thunder Moon, the Full Wolf Moon, etc.

Of all the 12 months in the calendar, there is but one full moon which stands out in most peoples’ minds…..the Full Harvest Moon!

A Harvest Moon is the moon which occurs closest to the autumnal equinox and one which appears higher in our twilight sky after sunset, than a normal full moon does.

A Harvest Moon will appear higher in the sky during twilight and this was a real aid to farmers who were engaged in gathering crops with the aid of this natural light, right after sunset.

On average, the moon rises some 50 minutes after sunset, but with a Harvest Moon, we see the moon rising closer to 20 minutes after sunset.

The moon at this time of year makes one of its most shallow angles with the horizon.

Around the time of the Harvest Moon, the moon may seem to rise at nearly the same time for a few nights in a row.

Add this to the fact that as the moon appears to rise in the east, it looks especially large to the average eye.

Is the moon really closer at the time of rising, or is this just a special type of illusion?

Many feel that the thicker atmosphere makes for a larger or magnified moon, but this is NOT the case. The large size of the moon rising is really an illusion which can be further explained by going here.

Back to the Harvest Moon!

The Harvest Moon will appear in our Arizona skies on Sept. 24, as it rises at 6:34 p.m. a few degrees to the left of east, at 94 degrees.

The sun, on the other hand, will set at 6:22 p.m.

So, we will experience an amazing Harvest Moon, rising just 12 minutes after sunset, making for a most amazing sight in our Arizona skies….be sure to get out those phones and cameras, to record this great sight!

Listen to Dr. Sky on KTAR News 93. FM every Saturday at 3 a.m.

To print your very own August 2018 star chart, click here.

To view satellites/dates/times of passage, click here.


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