October’s Harvest Moon

by Sid Baglini

Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 7:30 PM

This year’s Harvest Moon is ripe for the viewing, and so we will be gathering to pay homage on what promises to be a clear evening.  Those of you who have been joining us know that we’ve had more than our share of rainy nights, so I’m looking forward to a good night for viewing.  We will also still have Jupiter and Saturn keeping us and the Moon company, as well as the Red Planet, Mars.  Bring some binoculars if you want to check them out more closely.

If you recall from last month’s post, the Harvest Moon is whatever full moon occurs closest to the Autumn Equinox, which fell on September 22nd this year. The Harvest Moon was so named for its benefit to farmers to continue their harvest even after darkness fell — it rises early in the evening and shines brightly in the clear sky, a boon for our ancestors, whose equipment lacked lights.

We had three “super” full moons in the spring so now you can experience what NASA terms a “micro” full moon.  This month’s moon will appear smaller than usual, due to its distance from Earth, but since it will remain close to the horizon rather than rising directly overhead, we will have the compensating effect of objects on the horizon, making it look larger.

If you want to really get into the spirit of the Harvest Moon, feel free to bring a crisp, tasty apple to munch along the way.  Perhaps, I’ll even share a bit of information about that famous provider of apple seeds in Colonial America, Johnny Appleseed.  (You might be surprised to learn what motivated him.) I hope to see you Thursday!

Note: A second full moon of October falls on Halloween this year.  We originally decided not to “walk when the moon is full” that evening, since folks will already have been out with their children, or will be busy handing out candy.  Given the circumstances, we will wait to see what takes shape for that evening, and if “Trick-or-Treating” door-to-door is cancelled, perhaps we will gather to walk under a Blue MoonStay tuned

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