Rare Harvest Moon to illuminate the night sky on Friday the 13th

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Full Harvest Moon will illuminate the night sky on Friday the 13th. (Credit: MGN)
Full Harvest Moon will illuminate the night sky on Friday the 13th. (Credit: MGN)

A Harvest Moon will occur as the moon rises tonight, Friday September 13th, allowing for a spooky feeling for many Southwest Floridians. While the moon will rise at 7:40 p.m., the peak and best time to visually see the Harvest Moon will be 12:32 a.m. Saturday. While we do expect to have high cloud cover around, there should be enough breaks for you to see the reddish-glow.

This particular full moon occurs when the moon is closest to the autumnal equinox. Fall officially begins on September 23 at 3:50 a.m.

The harvest moon rises approximately 25 minutes earlier than a normal full moon, allowing for extra light this evening. The name is traced back to farmers needing that extra time to work to prepare for the winter season.

The spooky sensation you may be feeling today is because this year’s Harvest Moon falls on Friday the 13th. This rarity hasn’t happened since the full moon on October 13, 2000, and won’t happen again until August 13, 2049.

This year’s Harvest Moon is extra special because it’ll appear 14% smaller than normal. It’ll occur at the farthest point in the moon’s orbit away from the Earth.

The reddish glow is caused by the position and timing of the full moon. The moon looks redder the closer to the horizon it gets. According to the Cornell University astronomy department, this is because light photons travel through more atmosphere when the moon is at the horizon, compared to overhead.

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