I’m giving you a week’s notice. There are too many descriptors for this month’s Full Moon that will appear on Sunday, September 27. Super Harvest Blood Full Moon Eclipse covers most of the lunar adjectives that will probably be in the media this week.
September’s Full Moon is often called the Harvest Moon, but it will be at perigee and that gets it the additional tag of being a closer “supermoon.” It will be the closest Full Moon of this year. There will also be a total eclipse of the Moon.
Some people will call this a Blood Moon eclipse. It concludes a series of four straight total lunar eclipses that started on April 15, 2014. In California and Washington State, with their unfortunate wildfires, the soot in the air might even make the lunar eclipse appear more violet than red.
The Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. It is usually in September though it can be in October. This year the autumnal equinox was on Wednesday, September 23, so this Full Moon is just 4 days later.
The Harvest Moon is probably the most popular name for this Full Moon because it was the only one given the same name by both the English and by many American Indian tribes of eastern and northern North America.
Staples like corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and wild rice were typically ready for harvest by this Full Moon. Another name used by some tribes was the Corn Moon.
I did find other names for the September Full Moon, including the Wine Moon, the Singing Moon, the Gypsy Moon, the Barley Moon and the Elk Call Moon.
This Full Moon is often though of and portrayed in pictures as being orange or red-tinged moon which seems appropriate to the autumn color palette. But any special effects have to do with the seasonal tilt of the earth. The warm color of the moon shortly after it rises is an optical illusion, based on the fact that when the moon is low in the sky, you are looking at it through a greater amount of atmospheric particles (including pollution and smoke) than when the moon is overhead. Those particles scatter the blue part of the light spectrum but allows the reddish component of the light to travel a straighter path to your eyes.
All celestial bodies look reddish when they are low in the sky. We also like to portray moonlight as blue in art, photography and films which comes from the reflected white light from the sun.
And although the size of the Moon never changes, it will be closer this weekend, and the human eye perceives a low-hanging moon to be larger than one that’s high in the sky. If you want the full effect of this Full Moon illusion, look at it when it is low in the sky.
And hello to our southern hemisphere friends! Remember that the Full Moons of September, October and November as seen from the northern hemisphere correspond to the full moons of March, April and May as seen from the southern hemisphere, and aw we enter the autumn equinox later this week, they enter spring.