Full Moon, Harvest Moon

"After his Lunar view last evening Tony broke into song! Luna has an amazing effect on many!"
Image & caption: Richard Smith, Sidewalk Universe Astronomy Club, Sparks, Nevada

Hello StarGazers,

Are you ready to MoonGaze? 

Why is this moon sometimes called the Harvest Moon?
September's full moon occurs on the 29th, and is often called the "Harvest Moon"—that is, the full moon closest to the fall equinox. The brightness of the full moon helped extend the ability to harvest after sundown, hence the name. via Lawrence Hall of Science

When is the exact time of the Harvest Moon?
The closest full moon to the autumn equinox reaches the crest of its full phase on September 30 at 3:19 Universal Time. That means the moon turns exactly full for us in the continental U.S. before midnight on Saturday, September 29. By U.S. clocks, that’s 11:19 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10:19 p.m. Central Daylight Time, 9:19 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time or 8:19 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. via EarthSky

When is the best time to observe the Moon?
Contrary to popular belief, the Moon should ideally not be viewed at its full phase. During a full moon, rays of sunlight are hitting the visible portion of the moon perpendicular to the surface. As a result there is much less surface detail visible during a full moon than during other phases (such as the quarter and crescent phases) when sunlight hits the Moon at a much shallower angle. In addition, the brightness of a full moon as compared to a phase where a smaller percentage of the surface is illuminated tends to wash out substantial amounts of detail and can actually leave an afterimage on an observer's eye that can persist for several minutes. First quarter (six to nine days past new moon) is generally considered the best time to observe the Moon for backyard stargazers. It is true that if one views the Moon during this time, a smaller percentage of the surface will be seen at a time, however the detail will be vastly more impressive. Shadows and detail are most pronounced along the "terminator", the dividing line between the illuminated (day side) and dark (night side) of the Moon. via Wikipedia 

How can I learn more about the Moon?
Get to know the Moon with an astronomy club. Astronomy clubs have lots of events about the Moon, and many members know the features of the Moon in great detail. And, did you know that you can get a Moon globe? You don't need any astronomy experience to go to a club event or to join a club and most events are free or low cost. Contact you local club and have a blast!


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Clear skies and happy stargazing!

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