By The Light of The Harvest Moon
Friday the 13th brought the most famous Full Moon of the year - the Harvest Moon. The Old Farmers Almanac had several little known facts I thought you might find interesting.
Astronomically, the Harvest Moon is the full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox (and things really are being harvested right around now). The Harvest Moon isn’t always in the same month. It can fall in September or October . This year it was this past Friday the 13th.
Why Does the Harvest Moon Look Orange? Nothing differentiates a Harvest Moon in appearance. It’s more of a lunar phenomenon. This full Moon might look orange and enormous when it’s low. But all Moons do that. They look orange or red in color because your eyes are looking through a greater thickness of Earth’s atmosphere. They look larger when near the horizon because of what we call the "Moon Illusion."
What about Friday the 13th? Nothing makes a full Moon on Friday the 13th special except that it’s a fairly rare calendar coincidence since Friday the 13th only happens one to three times a year. The next full Moon on a Friday the 13th takes place on August 13, 2049.
The Moon is one of only four celestial objects that can cast shadows on Earth (the other three being the Sun, Venus, and the rare fireball meteor).
Still, the Moon is NOT a good reflector of light. In fact, it’s awful. On average, its terrain reflects just 8 to 13 percent of incoming sunlight, which matches the darkness of asphalt. By comparison, Earth reflects 35% of the sunlight hitting us, while shiny Venus reflects 76%. If a moon-sized Venus sat at the Moon’s distance from us, it would appear seven times more brilliant than the full Moon, enough to give us a blue sky at night.
On Weather: The air nearest to the ground experiences a worldwide monthly warming of about 0.04 (4/100) of a degree Fahrenheit during the period from 5-8 days after the full Moon. This tiny monthly temperature rise is still not understood, but may be caused by the moon’s hot daytime surface throwing infrared heat our way, like a bathroom heater.
In addition, there is a statistically greater probability of cloudiness, storminess, and rainfall around the full Moon than would be expected by chance. This effect, too, has not been fully explained.
There you have it – a little potpourri of Moon this and that. And, nothing unlucky about it. Just the facts.
Comments are welcomed.