September full moon will occur on Friday the 13th, one of the most inauspicious dates of the year. The coincidence is first in several years.
Harvest Moon on Friday the 13th: What does it mean?
Tonight, when skywatchers view a majestic rise of the pale full moon they will be witnessing the much-awaited Harvest Moon. What makes this full moon so special is that it is the closest to the autumnal equinox. According to the information on NASA's blog, it is an old European name for September or October full moon that occurs right before the beginning of fall.
The name for this moon was first used in 1706. On this night, farmers work late into the night in their fields by the moonlight. Native Americans refer to it as Full Corn Moon because corn crops are harvested during this time of the year.
The Harvest moon, which in many countries like China and Bangladesh is an event of festivities and feasts, will rise on Friday the 13th, the date that has several superstitions attached to it. It is often referred to as the unluckiest day of the year. While many rebuff the superstitions related to this day, others prefer not to perform any important tasks such as travelling, starting new ventures, or conducting business meetings, on this day.
Even though the origin of the superstition is not clear, many believe it started in the middle ages from the story of Jesus' last supper. The rare coincidence is said to make things spookier.
Earthsky reports that the last time full Harvest Moon occurred on the spooky date was in 1935 and the phenomenon will not occur until 2171.
What is micro moon?
What makes this full moon more special is that it is a rare coincidence as well as a micro moon. A micro moon is opposite of supermoons. This astronomical phenomenon occurs when the moon reaches its peak phase while at the farthest point from Earth. This moon will occur little less bright, a lot paler, and usually smaller than a supermoon.
When and how to watch it?
The moon will reach its full phase at 04:34 Universal Time. It means the full moon rises at the same time for the entire world, but the local time on the clock for different time zones vary. For stargazers in the United Kingdom, the moon will reach its full phase at 5:32 am on Saturday, September 14 morning. However, the sky will remain lit with the moonlight throughout Friday night.
For those following Eastern Daylight time zone, it will occur around midnight at 12.30 am and for the rest of the US, it will happen on September 13 at around 9.33 pm PDT.
You do not need any special equipment to witness the magical night sky. It can be viewed with naked eyes. This may not be the best time to observe stars and any other celestial bodies, because the night sky will remain lit with the moonlight from dusk to dawn.