September's full Moon, known as the Harvest Moon, can be spotted Friday 16 September. And for the second year in a row, this full moon will be eclipsed.
In 2015, the Harvest Moon had also been a 'super moon' — the satellite had made its closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit,
Last year, the harvest moon was also a supermoon — the natural satellite had made its closest approach to Earth on its elliptical orbit. The event was made all the more impressive as Earth's shadow completely darkened the Moon, resulting in a total lunar eclipse which people across the UK were able to enjoy.
This year's eclipse is known as a penumbral eclipse meaning the Moon will pass through Earth's outer — or "penumbral" — shadow. Less spectacular than other types of eclipses, it is characterised by faint shadows in the upper quarter of the Moon's disc, which can be seen by the naked eye if skies are clear. It should be visible across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Western Australia.
Those wishing to take a better, closer look at the phenomenon through specialised equipment can watch it live online through Slooh's community telescopes, either below or on Slooh's website. The event starts at 5.45pm BST on 16 September.
Viewers are also invited to snap and share their photos during the event, chat with audience members and interact with the hosts, and even better, personally control Slooh's telescopes. Differences between eclipses, the Moon's movements around Earth, and the cultural significance of the Harvest Moon will be discussed during the event.
Why "Harvest Moon"?
In September, the full moon is traditionally called Harvest Moon because it is the closest one to the autumn equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.
It is also sometimes known as the Full Corn Moon as its appearance in the night sky corresponded to the time of harvest corn. Likewise, it also got the name Barley Moon as the period was optimal to harvest this crop. These names were deviced by ancient tribes of native Americans to reflect the changes happening in their natural environment.
Moon cycles were followed closely by these populations to keep track of the passing of time, with every full moon marking a particular moment in the year — and a particular change in nature.