Rare Treat Comes Up Today - Super Harvest Moon

Tonight is the darkness of the Super Harvest Moon. It's the last day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the start of the autumn season and it completely coincides with a full moon tonight. And it's the first time in approximately 20 years that the stars have aligned for an event like this.

When the summer sun starts setting this evening, it will blend with the rising autumn moon to make a unique "360-degree style" twilight. The two low-in-the-sky light sources mix mutually and illuminate the sky all around you, unlike than the typical one-at-a-time approach you see when you drive home from work. And it's from this extra twilight lighting that the Harvest Moon gained its place in the space calendar. With farmers depending on moonlight to harvest their crops they would note the autumnal full moon. Thus the phenomenon's name.

Be sure to take a good long look at the moon as it travels across the sky tonight, because you may observe that it looks a little different. According to NASA's Dr. Tony Phillips, you'll see the "moon illusion" at work. It will look unusually large -- an optical illusion that comes about when the moon sits lower than usual in the sky.

It's not the first time that the moon has coordinated up to the calendar and created an event like this, but it's the closest.

So be sure to take advantage of the extra hours of moonlight and cram in that extra harvest work, or maybe just take pleasure in the show; either way you should definitely take a look in the sky tonight. Bookmark and Share