Sunday, October 4, 2009

Harvest Moon Over Brooklyn:October 4, 2009



Moonstruck over Flatbush, October 4, 2009

No one captures the romance and dreaminess of the Harvest Moon like Neil Young

From the Tehran Times:See the special effects of the harvest moon:While the moon is always something special, the harvest moon, visible all of this coming week, is the most special of all. It is the subject of everything from epic poetry to popular songs.

What makes the harvest moon so special? Mainly it's the path it's following this week. The moon always travels close to the ecliptic, the path of the sun and planets in the sky, but this week the ecliptic is at a particularly shallow angle to the horizon. The result is that the moon never gets too far above the horizon all night long for a number of nights in a row, putting it literally “in your face.”

There is a well known but poorly understood optical illusion known as the “moon illusion,” whereby the moon, when low in the sky, appears much larger than it does when high overhead. This really is an illusion, as you can see for yourself by blocking the moon with a finger held at arm's length: the moon is no bigger on the horizon than overhead.

When the moon is low in the sky, it is also strongly subject to appearing yellow, orange, or red due to air pollution, particularly caused by forest fires this time of year.


Wikipedia on the Harvest Moon:

The moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. The Harvest moon is often mistaken for the modern day Hunter's moon. In the legend of the Harvest moon, it is said that all full moons have their own special characteristics based primarily on the whereabouts of the ecliptic in the sky at the time of year that these moons are visible. The full moons of September, October and November as seen from the northern hemisphere—which correspond to the full moons of March, April and May as seen from the southern hemisphere—are well known in the folklore of the sky. All full moons rise around the time of sunset. However, although in general the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, as it moves in orbit around Earth, the Harvest Moon and Hunter's Moon are special, because around the time of these full moons, the time difference between moonrise on successive evenings is shorter than usual. In other words, the moon rises approximately 30 minutes later, from one night to the next, as seen from about 40 degrees N. or S. latitude, for several evenings around the full Hunter's or Harvest Moons. Thus there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise around the time following these full moons. In times past this feature of these autumn moons was said to help farmers working to bring in their crops (or, in the case of the Hunter's Moon, hunters tracking their prey). They could continue being productive by moonlight even after the sun had set. Hence the name Harvest Moon

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