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9/26/2007

2007 Harvest Moon shines on September 26

No matter where you live, the moon will look round and full tonight as it rises in the east around sunset. This is the full Harvest Moon for us in the northern hemisphere.

Every month has a full moon, and all the full moons have names. The Harvest Moon is the name for the full moon closest to the September equinox, which came this year on September 23. This is the first full moon of autumn for us in this hemisphere. For the southern hemisphere, it’s the first full moon of spring.

The crest of the moon’s full phase comes today at precisely 19:45 Universal Time – that’s 2:24 p.m. in the central U.S. – and it’s the time when, for the entire Earth at once, the moon is most full. But, like all full moons, tonight’s Harvest Moon will ascend over the eastern horizon at sunset. Moonlight will fill the sky all night long. Farmers of old used the light of the Harvest Moon to gather their crops.

IMAGE: Contrary to legend, the Harvest Moon isn't really bigger, or brighter or yellower than other full moons. What's different about the Harvest Moon is that - every autumn - the moon's path across the sky makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon. It's simply a fact of nature, one with a beautiful result. The moon's path in autumn causes the full moon to rise near the time of sunset for several evenings in a row, appearing big, bright and yellow each night.
Photo: maxedaperture
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