The Blog at the End of the Internet

Harvest Moon

Another equinox passes by, as the Sun makes its annual circumambulation around Earth. A chinese friend of mine offered me some kind of an egg cake, in celebration of their Autumn Moon festival. Our lunacy with Earth's closest neighbor in space continues.
Harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (~sep 23) - when the moon rises very soon(~15-30 minutes) after sunset and stays low on the horizon for a while. Due to it being low on the horizon, we see the Moon Illusion - the light passes through a lot more atmosphere making it appear golden and slightly larger - exacerbated by the fact that the moon being on the same level as land features (hills, houses, trees etc) gives us a sense of scale that is otherwise absent for a moon high in the sky. The additional brightness past sunset due to moon allowed farmers to work more hours during the harvest in autumn, hence the name.
The full moon closest to the vernal equinox (~mar 23) swings moonrise time to the other extreme - it rises about 1.5 hrs later in the night, but stays quite bright for a while. Back in the dark ages, where there were no neon lights and high speed trains, pilgrims traveling on foot/animals chose the vernal equinox full moon for their pilgrimages so that they could travel by day and night (or only by night if traversing a hot desert), which is designated as Easter.
The photo was an amateurish experiment at astrophotography - I used a 100x telescope and just took a photo of the magnified image in the eyepiece using a regular camera. (Sounds simple but it took 4 people, 45 minutes and infinite patience to get this fuzzy looking image).

0 Responses to “Harvest Moon”

Post a Comment