We watched the harvest moon rise above the horizon tonight, huge, beautiful–the color of a ripe apricot.
The moon, coming up full when harvest in some parts of the country is in full swing, used to allow an extra-long work day when a few more hours of picking, plucking, or cutting could make the difference between full stomachs and growling stomachs by the time new crops came up in the spring.
Also, as I learned tonight from a cnet.com, is that “It’s also the time of year when the difference between the time of the moonrise from one night to the next is at a yearly minimum. In other words, most nights the moon rises an average of 50 minutes later than it did the day before, but around this time of year that difference is only 30 minutes.”
Why does tonight’s moon look nearly double the size of an ordinary one? That’s a phenomenon that hasn’t been adequately explained. If you want to pursue that mystery, read “Solstice Moon Illusion” at https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/16jun_moonillusion/.
No matter the scientific explanation or lack of it, step out and enjoy the harvest moon!