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– News – The Daily Reporter – Coldwater, MI

One can only speculate on the cosmic mysteries of the universe – and humans have spent millennia in doing just that.

The full moon occurs in September, the so-called "Harvest Moon", which is closest to the moon's equinox for the moon (September 23).

According to the Farmers' Almanac, the arrival of this year's harvest Moon will depend on what time of day you happen to live. For those of us in the Eastern Timezone – right now the moon is turning full, it will be shortly after midnight – 12:33 on Saturday, the 14th. But if you live elsewhere in the country – in the central, mountainous or Pacific timezones – the moment when the moon fills up comes before midnight on Friday, the 1


Interestingly, the last time this happened – June 13, 2014 – was the opposite of what is going to happen this month. It was Friday, the 13th full moon only for the eastern time zone, with the moon turning full just after midnight; for the rest of the country, the full moon was the day before, on Thursday, the 12th. Nationally, we have not had Friday the 13th full moon of October 13, 2000, and that will not happen again until August 13, 2049.

It is estimated that the full moon will occur on the 13th day of a given month and for this day to be Friday, this is an (average) once every 20 year event.

The Farmers' Almanac reports that what sets this forthcoming Full Moon apart is that farmers, at the height of this harvest season, can work late into the night from the light of this Moon. The moon rises at the time the sun goes down, but more importantly, at this time of year, instead of raising its normal average 50 minutes later each day, the moon seems to rise at almost the same time each night, which causes it to be full

For example, between September 12 and 14, the moon rises on average less than 27 minutes later every night, thus providing light for the farmer to continue to harvest, even after the sun has set.

The reason for this seasonal circumstance is that at this time of year the Moon's path through the sky is as close to the horizon as possible. Thus, from night to night, the moon moves more horizontally than vertically, and so rises earlier from one night to the next.

To add to this madness, "madness," this forthcoming full moon almost coincides with apogee – that point in its orbit that puts it the greatest distance from Earth: 252 100 miles. Last February, the full moon coincided with Perigee, its closest point to Earth. The moon was more than 30,000 miles closer and was accordingly called the "Supersize".

According to reports, the full moon this month will look about 14 percent smaller, which causes some to call it the "Micro" Moon. Many will argue that the full moon harvest this year really looks smaller than usual. But without knowing in advance whether a full moon in a given month can be referred to as "Super" or "Micro", the appearance of our natural satellite for most will not really look that much different.

No matter its size, since I was a child, I have been struck by the beauty of its moon. Whenever there is an eclipse or some kind of event for the moon, I usually have eyes in the sky.

Fortunately, my husband is as lonely as I am about earthly events. We are known to sit at the local airport in our lawn chairs to watch what is supposed to happen.

Here we hope in the clear sky, so that anyone else who is attached to the moon can go out and enjoy it. And whether or not it's happening on Friday the 13th, it's still a mystery!

Nancy Hastings is a writer on the Daily News and can be reached at nhastings@hillsdale.net. Follow her on Twitter: @nhastingsHDN.

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