Harvest Moon Greets Season of Autumn
The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is always called the Harvest Moon. This year the moon is full on September 21 and autumn begins on September 23.
Usually the moon rises about 50 minutes later each night. During the harvest moon, it rises just 30 minutes later. This lingering moonlight once proved extremely useful to those who farmed the land. Bringing in the crops was often done by the light of the shimmering harvest moon.
Join naturalist Bob Dispenza on Friday evening, September 20, to learn all about the secrets of the moon. Meet at 8pm at the Fox Island County Park Nature Center for a night of full moon madness. Bob will entertain you with his knowledge of the history, facts and myths of the moon.
Mr. Dispenza will be demonstrating moon cratering as well as phases of the moon. A real space suit like those that went to the moon will be displayed. If the weather permits, telescopic moon observation, a short night hike and moon-related treats will be included. Program fee is just $3. Call 449-3180 to register. Bring along insect repellent and your desire to learn more about earth’s luminous satellite.
For those of us living in Northern Indiana, the autumnal equinox begins in the early morning hours of Monday, September 23. On that day the sun crosses the celestial equator moving from north to south. From now and until December 21, the nights will be longer than the days.
Venus continues to shine brightly at sunset in the west.The goddess of love reaches her greatest brilliancy in evening appearances this year on September 25, at a magnitude +4.6. Your unaided eye won’t notice any difference, but through binoculars or telescopes one will see Venus at 25% phase. Venus is very close to earth now as she orbits the sun thus contributing to the planet’s brightness.
September offers many opportunities to delight in the night sky. Take time to be dazzled by the big harvest moon. Join a night of lunacy at Fox Island County Park. Make a wish upon Venus at her brightest. It’s all waiting out there for you. All you need to do is just look towards the heavens. Happy Stargazing!