PHILADELPHIA (CBS/CNN) — Friday the 13th is usually associated with bad luck but if you are an astronomy enthusiast, then this Friday, September 13th is your lucky day! Friday night we are set to experience the Harvest Moon for 2019.
The Harvest Moon is described as the full moon that occurs nearest to the Autumnal Equinox, or the start of the Fall season. This year the Equinox occurs on Sept. 23, making the full moon this Friday the Harvest Moon.
The days grow shorter, the air gets brisker and a glowing full moon kicks it all off. Here’s what it is, when you can see it and why it’s teenier this year.
What’s a harvest moon?
A harvest moon is a full moon that usually occurs around the autumnal equinox but sometimes laze into October in the Western Hemisphere.
Fall officially begins on Sept. 23 at 3:40 a.m. Our next full moon will be this Friday night — Friday the 13th!
A harvest moon rises about 25 minutes after the sun sets in most of the northern US, NASA said, 25 minutes earlier than a typical moon. This brings extra light in the evenings.
What causes it?
The moon’s positioned at the “most shallow angle” with the eastern horizon, the Farmer’s Almanac said. This shortens the period between the time the sun sets and the moon rises.
And like any full moon, the sun and moon are opposite each other, so the sun cranks up the moon’s brightness.
Why is it called a ‘harvest moon’?
Thank farmers. Those extra 25 minutes of sunlight extended harvesting time for farmers, so they could continue their picking later into the evenings. And at the right time, it kinda looks like a big, glowing pumpkin.
Why is this one special?
It’s mini! This year’s harvest moon will occur during the apogee, or the point in the moon’s orbit when it’s farthest from Earth. As a result, it’ll appear 14% smaller than a typical full moon, the Farmer’s Almanac said.
Why does it look reddish-orange sometimes?
The Harvest Moon may appear larger or have more of an orange tint. This is because the moon will rise close to sunset and will be located just above the horizon as the sun is setting.
Here are the sunset and moonrise times for Friday, Sept. 13:
Sunset – 7:12 p.m.
Moonrise – 7:24 p.m.
The fact that almost the whole country will experience a full moon on Friday the 13th is fairly rare. The last time we had a full moon on a Friday the 13th was June 13, 2014. In that case, though we were looking at the opposite of this year. In 2014 the moon was full on Friday for the east coast while it happened Thursday for the rest of the country. We have not had a nationwide full moon on a Friday the 13th since 2000 when it happened in October! We won’t see another nationwide full moon on a Friday until 2049.
Right now it looks like we will have to deal with some cloud cover Friday night. Crossing our fingers there are enough breaks so we can see at least part of the moon. Happy viewing!
CBS3 meteorologist Tiffany Savona and meteorologist Matt Peterson contributed to this report.
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