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Harvest Moon 2019: What Is It, When Is It And Where Can I See It From?

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Harvest Moon 2019: What Is It, When Is It And Where Can I See It From?

Anyone who believes in the dark arts may want to stay inside tomorrow as, not only is it Friday 13, but a Harvest Moon is coming. However, stargazers around the world will be setting up their deckchairs, adding some harder stuff to their hot chocolates and setting their gaze to the sky later this week to celebrate the super rare event.

Here's all you need to know about the Harvest Moon.

What is a Harvest Moon?

A Harvest Moon is the full moon that's seen nearest to the time of the Autumn equinox.

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The harvest moon setting back in 2017. Credit: PA
The harvest moon setting back in 2017. Credit: PA

What's so special about this Harvest Moon?

What makes this one particularly interesting is that it will be smaller than the average full moon, a whole 14 percent smaller, to be exact, making it a 'micromoon'.

Speaking to the Daily Express, Maine Farmers' Almanac astronomer Joe Rao said the reduced size is due to the position of the moon when it peaks.

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He said: "To add to this Full Moon 'madness', this upcoming Full Moon very nearly coincides with apogee - that point in its orbit which places it at its greatest distance from the Earth: 252,100 miles away.

"Remember last February, when the Full Moon coincided with perigee, its closest point to Earth?

"The Moon was more than 30,000 miles closer and was accordingly branded a 'Supermoon'."

When and where can I see the Harvest Moon?

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The rare 'micromoon' is set to appear on Friday 13.

However, here in the UK it's technically closer to Saturday 14, arriving at around 5.32 am. Still spooky though.

Mr Rao added: "The arrival of this year's Harvest Moon will depend on which time zone you happen to live in.

"If you live in the Eastern Time Zone, the moment the Moon turns full will occur just after midnight - at 12.33 am - on Saturday 14.

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"But if you live elsewhere in the country - in the Central, Mountain, or Pacific time zones - the moment that the Moon turns full comes before midnight on Friday 13."

A stunning harvest moon. Credit: PA
A stunning harvest moon. Credit: PA

When was the last freaky Friday moon?

A full moon on Friday 13 is extremely rare. The last one was almost 20 years ago, back in 2000 and we are not expected to see another one until 2049.

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Why is it called a Harvest Moon?

The Harvest Moon is one of the most impressive astronomical spectacles of the year and happens just before the Autumn Equinox - signalling the start of a new season.

According to experts, the name is linked to a 'shorter-than-usual' lag time in-between moonrise and sunset.

As a result, farmers gathering crops for the harvest could work longer outside under the light of the Moon.

Deborah Byrd of EarthSky.org told the Express: "In the days before tractor lights, the lamp of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops, despite the diminishing daylight hours.

"As the Sun's light faded in the west, the Moon would soon rise in the east to illuminate the fields throughout the night.

"Who named the Harvest Moon? That name probably sprang to the lips of farmers throughout the Northern Hemisphere, on autumn evenings, as the Harvest Moon aided in bringing in the crops."

Let's just hope we can have a rare cloudless night to appreciate it.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Viral, Science, World News, UK News, Interesting, space, Moon

Mark Cunliffe
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