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Blood Harvest Super Moon

StarDate: 
September 27, 2015

Thanks to an astronomical coincidence, you can expect every TV meteorologist in America to go a bit gaga about the Moon tonight. That’s because it’s the Bloody Harvest Super Moon.

The Harvest Moon designation comes from its place in the calendar: It’s the first full Moon after the autumnal equinox. In earlier eras, farmers used the extra moonlight to gather their crops well into the night.

The “Super” Moon designation applies to a full Moon that’s especially close to Earth.

The Earth-Moon distance varies by almost 30,000 miles. The two bodies are at their closest every 27-and-a-third days. That’s offset from the Moon’s cycle of phases by more than two days. That means the Moon usually isn’t closest to Earth when it’s full. This month, however, that closest point comes within minutes of the full Moon. The Moon looks a little bigger and brighter than average, although the difference isn’t as pronounced as many suggest.

Finally, the Moon will pass through Earth’s shadow tonight, creating a total lunar eclipse. Sunlight filtering through Earth’s atmosphere gives the Moon a reddish tinge, which in recent years has been described as a Blood Moon. The entire eclipse will be visible across the eastern United States. From the rest of the country, it’ll be under way as the Moon climbs into view.

Our advice is to ignore the hype and just enjoy the show: a big, fully eclipsed Harvest Moon decorating an autumn night.

 

Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2015

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