Here are 7 fun facts about Friday's Harvest Moon, look up!
Friday, September 16, 2016, 9:30 AM - Every year as summer comes to a close in the Northern Hemisphere, the September full moon rises and because it occurs closer to the autumnal equinox than the October full moon, it's called the Harvest Moon.
This must-see will fill the sky on Sept. 16.
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Best viewing conditions in the country
West: "In western Canada, southern Alberta and Saskatchewan look to have the best viewing of the Harvest Moon Friday night," says Weather Network meteorologist Kelly Sonnenburg.
With an incoming system to the B.C coast, the only chance B.C. has of seeing it would be in the extreme southeast part of the province. Rain conditions can be expected all along the coast with rain showers and cloud cover through the Interior. "Cloud cover will spread into northern Alberta through the evening so you may get lucky with some breaks in the cloud to see the moon but it’s not a spectacular viewing night," Sonnenburg says. "Saskatchewan overall has a pretty nice viewing tonight, with only a bit more cloud cover to northern parts of the province."
East: "Eastern Ontario, southern Quebec and Atlantic Canada should have pretty great viewing," Sonnenburg adds.
A low pressure system moving through southern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario will give little to no viewing of the moon. Clouds may break west to east through the predawn hours of Saturday in Manitoba.
"The Greater Toronto Area will likely get a decent viewing once nightfall comes, although clouds will build through the overnight hours with a low pressure system approaching from the west," says Sonneburg. "So an earlier viewing is best."
Here are 7 fun facts about this week's Harvest Moon:
- Full moons have names corresponding to calendar months or seasons of the year, which dates back to early Native American tradition. Distinctive names were given to each recurring full moon so tribes were able to keep track of the seasons. As a result, the September full moon is also called the "Full Corn Moon," because it marks when corn was supposed to be harvested.
- Depending on the year, the Harvest Moon can come anywhere from two weeks before or two weeks after the autumn equinox.
- On average, the Moon rises 50 minutes later each day. However, for several days before and after the full Harvest Moon, it rises 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe, according to the Farmer's Almanac.
- Friday's spectacle will also be a supermoon, that is, when the Moon is full, it is within 90 per cent of its closest distance to Earth for the month, or around 364,765 km away, compared to its perigee of 361,880 km on Sept 18. However, this isn't the closest full moon of 2016. That doesn't occur until Nov. 14.
- While people may say Friday's Harvest Moon will look bigger than usual, the "supermoon" only plays a small part in that perception. When the Moon is seen low on the horizon, the human eye and brain combine to create an optical illusion known as the Moon Illusion, as they struggle to compare such a large, distant object to the much closer objects on the ground. When the Moon is higher in the sky, with no other closer objects nearby, it appears smaller. Cover the moon with a dime at arm's length, both when it is at the horizon and high in the sky, and you will see there is no difference.
- This year's Harvest Moon is special because it will also be a penumbral lunar eclipse, as it passes through the outer edge of the Earth's shadow. Since Earth's penumbra only casts a dim grey shadow on the Moon, this means we won't see the glorious crimson of a total lunar eclipse, and many skywatchers may not even notice any difference at all. However, it will be visible to varying degrees anywhere in eastern Europe, eastern Africa, most of Asia and western Australia.
- The last time the Harvest Moon perfectly coincided with the autumnal equinox was in 2010 and this won't happen again until 2029. The 2016 Strawberry Moon was the first to coincide with the June solstice in decades, and the first to be visible in all of Canada since 1948.
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Watch below: A recap of the 2015 rare Super Blood Moon lunar eclipse that occurred on the night of September 27.