Thursday, September 19, 2013


What that a harvest moon reflecting off the River Ancholme in Brigg last night? Ken Harrison will soon let us know! 


Ken Harrison said...

You're nearly there, 99 perecent perficked, ol' Nige, but its needs a very pedantic adjustment....
Yes, the Full Moon, last night 18th/19th can be regarded as a Harvest Moon - but the Moon did not reach its maximum until about lunchtime today (circa 11:45am GMT) - 19th.
As the Moon's maximum was closer to last night 18th/19th, than it will be tonight 19th/20th, by about -15 mins (in GMT terms), last night's Moon is regarded as the 2013's Harvest Moon.
The term Harvest Moon originated from the farming community - September being the main harvest time of the year. Consequently, the Full Moon nearest the astronomical Autumnal Equinox ((the date when Sun appears directly overhead on the Equator - and going south - (the Sun doesn't actually move - it's to do with the Earth's rotation and angle of tilt, which makes it appear that the Sun moves to and from the Tropics, crossing the Equator x 2 during the year)), which in 2013 occurs Sun, 22nd - 9.44pm local time to be precise)...and the bright moonlight of the Harvest Moon allowed agricultural workers to work in the fields during harvest time.
In WW2, bomber crews used the term, Bombers' Moon - the time around Full Moon. The extra moonlight reflected on rivers and lakes, for example, and aided the crews to navigated more accurately.
The Autumnal Equinox is the date when autumn starts - in astronomical terms... Weather men, like the guys on telly, use the meteorological date of 1st September as the start of autumn....which can cause some confusion - anyway, it's all to do with whose definition one is using.
If anyone fancies looking at the Moon tonight, Neptune can be seen fairly close to the Moon - about 8 x Moon dia to the right...use binoculars (looks bluish), ..but the moonlight may be too bright...and one may have to wait a couple of days.
Neptune will be about for weeks and is located between Aquarius and Capricorn -SSE to S.

ps Coloured Moons - ie a Blue Moon, but it can be seen as green, orange, red and etc....caused by contaminants in the Earth's atmospheres/angle of reflection and the interplay of refraction with Earth's gasses....for instance, dust storms - as found in the USA - can make the Moon appear a funny colour..


Thanks. You forgot No Moon Tonight - great book about flying from RAF Elsham during the Second World War. I think No Moon was good news for our brave boys.

Ken Harrison said...

Slight clarification re 'Blue Moon' - while atmospheric contaminants, ie high level dust, can affect the apparent colour of Moon - there is another definition of, 'Blue Moon'.
Most seasons - Winter- Spring etc have 3 Full Moons, but occasionally a season can contain 4 Full Moons - when this occurs the 4th Full Moon is defined as a 'Blue Moon' - although it doesn't have to be coloured.
Hence the origin of the saying - 'Once in Blue Moon.