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Pictures: The Harvest Moon

Posted on: 9:04 pm, September 18, 2013, by

It’s called the Harvest Moon, and it’s been beautiful tonight! It started out a little pink because of the sky at sunset, but as it climbed higher into the sky it became very photogenic:

Photo Gallery Expand 1 of 11
  • Karen Darwin - Scottsboro

  • Karen Darwin - Scottsboro

  • Kathy Palmer - Colbert Mountain/Colbert County

  • Jamie Johnson - Falkville

  • William Summers - 'Lazy J Pond' - Sand Mountain

  • Sarah Smith - Huntsville

  • JoPaul Cates - Alabaster

  • Jean Darwin - Bird in front o the Moon

  • Stephanie Gentle - Scottsboro

  • Lori Weaver Bush - Blountsville

  • Brad Lackey

The “Harvest Moon” is the Full Moon occurring closest to the Autumnal Equinox according to EarthSky.org:

In traditional skylore, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, and depending on the year, the Harvest Moon can come anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the autumnal equinox. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the 2013 autumnal equinox comes on September 22, so the September 19 full moon counts as the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon.

If you live in North America, the moon will turn precisely full before sunrise September 19, but from eastern Asia, the moon will turn precisely full after sunset September 19.

It’s not bigger or brighter than any other Full Moon of the year, but it can appear that way sometimes (more from EarthSky.org):

…That’s because the Harvest Moon has such a powerful mystique. Many people look for it shortly after sunset around the time of full moon. After sunset around any full moon, the moon will always be near the horizon. It’ll just have risen. It’s the location of the moon near the horizon that causes the Harvest Moon – or any full moon – to look big and orange in color.

The orange color of a moon near the horizon is a true physical effect. It stems from the fact that – when you look toward the horizon – you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere than when you gaze up and overhead. The atmosphere scatters blue light – that’s why the sky looks blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light most effectively, but it lets red light pass through to your eyes. So a moon near the horizon takes on a yellow or orange or reddish hue.

The bigger-than-usual size of a moon seen near the horizon is something else entirely. It’s a trick that your eyes are playing – an illusion – called the Moon Illusion. You can find lengthy explanations of the Moon Illusion by googling those words yourself.

The sunset this evening was nice too! Here’s the time lapse from the Downtown Huntsville Jack’s Camera Network site:

Anytime you’ve got a picture or weather report to share, you can send photos to photo@whnt.com or just connect with me on social media (see below).

-Jason
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