Harvest Moon Visible this Week 9/17

As fall approaches, the harvest moon will be seen this week.

Every moon has a name according to weather folklore. Many of you have seen or at least heard about the harvest moon. It's the full moon that happens the closest to the autumn equinox- or the official start of fall.

This month's full moon is named the harvest moon because farmers, used to harvest their crops late at night using the light from the full moon.

The full moon around the Autumn equinox is a pretty incredible site.

Some say the harvest moon looks like a pumpkin, a nice way to view the moon as fall approaches.

At this time of the year, the moon's orbital path makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon.

This allows something a little unique to happen when viewing the moon.

JMU's Planetarium Director Shanil Virani knows this effect of the harvest moon is a highlight for many to see.

He explains how the unique features are seen.

"There are two things going on, one is your looking through the atmosphere, so you kind of have a reddish tinge to the moon. Second, the moon low on the horizon, looks bigger or appears bigger than it really is. It's an optical illusion but still an incredible sight."

The good news is that even thought the moon is technically full on Thursday, the 19th, you can see the harvest moon a few days before and a few days after the actual full moon.

As the sun sets these next few nights, go outside and look east. It's a fall treat for almost the whole week, the harvest moon can be seen tonight through at least Friday.

The weather this week, looks fairly clear to see the harvest moon at least a few of the available nights.

Follow Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz WHSV on Facebook and Twitter.

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