This year’s supermoon trilogy ended Monday night, saying farewell to summer. The full Harvest moon lit up the sky on Monday, reaching its full phase at 9:38 p.m. ET. Full moons were also observed in July and August. But Monday’s supermoon was special. It was a Harvest moon because it was the one nearest to the Northern Hemisphere’s September equinox this year. Though Harvest moon is usually associated with autumn, this time it was the last full moon of the summer season.
Myth about Harvest moon
Many believe the bright Harvest moon provides farmers with extra moonlit evenings, helping them reap their crops late into the evening. A common myth about the Harvest moon is that it remains longer in the night sky than other full moons. The reality is entirely different. The moon normally rises 50 minutes later each day. But the Harvest moon rises just a little later each night, giving extra moonlit evenings. Bob Berman of Slooh Virtual Observatory said in a statement that the Harvest moon was the year’s most famous full moon. But it’s “bathed in misconception and myth.”
Monday’s supermoon was also a Harvest moon. These features coupled with the sky painted with thin clouds made yesterday’s supermoon very photogenic. A supermoon occurs when a new moon or full moon coincides with the moon reaching the closest point to the Earth on its elliptical orbit. As a result, the moon appears brighter and larger in size than usual.
Why Monday’s supermoon was so photogenic
The fact that it was a Harvest moon made it even more photogenic. According to astronomer Richard Walker of Longway Planetarium, the moon rose Monday at around 7:36 p.m. ET on Monday. So, the supermoon was just above the horizon by the time it was dark. Another reason that made the Harvest moon so photogenic was the speed of its ascent into the sky. Its lower path made the Harvest moon hover near the horizon for much longer time.