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Full Moon or Harvest Moon 13 September, 2019: All you need to know

Full Moon of September is known as Harvest Moon or Full Corn Moon by the early North American farmers. On 13 September, 2019 i.e. Friday is coinciding with a Full Moon after 13 years.  What is Full-Moon,  Why it is called Harvest Moon? Let us find out!    
Sep 12, 2019 16:04 IST
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Phases of Moon
Phases of Moon

It is the first Full Moon that will going to take place on 13 September, 2019 after 2006. It is said that next time we will be able to see Full Moon on 13 Friday in May 2033. This time on Friday Full Moon is also known as micromoon that is it will be at apogee-the farthest point from Earth. 

13 Friday date is also related to several superstitions and is considered unlucky. It is believed that the fear of 13 Friday stem from early Christianity. Because Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday and Judas ,who betrayed him, was the 13th guest to join the table during the Last Supper.

Let us see about Moon

Moon is the only natural satellite of the Earth and is the nearest celestial object. It is the only planet beyond Earth where humans have set foot. It is the fifth largest satellite in the Solar System. It was born around 4.5 billion years ago. Do you know it is the brightest object in the sky after the Sun, although its surface is actually very dark? The distance of Moon from the Earth is 384,400 kilometres. Let us study about the phases of the Moon.

Phases of the Moon

As we know that Moon orbits around the Earth so, we see the bright part of the Moon's surface at different angles. These are called 'Phases of the Moon'. Or we can say that the changing shape of the bright part of the Moon that we see is known as its phase.

Let us tell you that the phases of the moon work in a cycle which starts with the new moon and the cycle has eight phases of the moon.

In lay man language, moon does not emit its own light. The light that we see coming from the moon is actually the reflected light from the sun. Therefore, the phase of the moon is how much of the moon appears to us on Earth. Except during an eclipse when half of the moon is always lit up by the sun but we see only a portion of it. This is known as the phase of the moon.

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You must have noticed that shape of the moon changes every day because moon has no light of its own and it reflect light from the sun. Only the side of the moon which faces the sun reflects light and appears bright and the other side appears dark. We know that moon revolves around the earth so we see different amounts of the region illuminated by the sun. This is why we see that shape of the moon changes.

Moon takes almost 27 days to revolve around the earth. And between two full moons there are 29.5 days. This is because during that time earth also travels a distance around the sun in space. So, it has to cover an extra distance which is 2 days more.

The 8 phases of the moon are: New Moon, Waxing Crescent, First Quarter, Waxing Gibbous, Full, Waning Gibbous, Third Quarter, Waning Crescent and Dark Moon.

Note: The New Moon and Dark Moon phases are mostly the same phase as it happens almost the same time.

Phases of Moon

New Moon: is the first phase and it occurs when the sun and the moon are aligned with the sun and the earth on opposite sides of the moon. We cannot see New Moon from the earth because the dark side of the moon faces the earth at this point. Sometime, if the New Moon comes close to the lunar nodes of its path then it can cause Solar Eclipse.

Note: Spring tides which is the difference between high and low tides also takes place around New Moon and Full Moon.

Waxing or Waning Crescent: When New Moon begins its orbit we will be able to see more and more of the moon that is when the silver line of the moon becomes visible after New moon this is the beginning of the first immediate phase known as Waxing Crescent Moon.

On the other hand when moon gets to its full phase, we start to see less and less of the moon this phase is known as Waning Crescent.

First Quarter moon: is the second phase of the moon and occurs when the moment the moon has reached the first quarter of its orbit around the earth. It is also known as Half moon where we can see exactly 50% of the surface of the Moon illuminated.

Note: The small difference between high and low tide is known as neap tides and it occurs during second Quarter Moons.

Waxing Gibbous moon: It is the second intermediate phase and lasts until the next primary phase. Waxing means that it is getting bigger. Gibbous is the larger shape than the semicircle shape of the moon at first quarter but smaller than a full circle.

Full Moon: When moon is behind the earth and sun then we can see the entire illuminated portion and this stage is known as Full Moon (Purnima). When moon is between the sun and the earth then we can see the dark portion and a new moon (Amavasya) occurs.

When Full Moon passes through the Earth's shadow then lunar eclipse occur.

When the Full Moon comes close to the points of its orbit that are closest or farthest away from Earth then Supermoon or Microman exist.

Waning Gibbous Moon: During this period, when the portion of the visible half of the illuminated moon decreases.

Third Quarter Moon: This phase occurs when the opposite half of the moon is illuminated as compared to the First Quarter Moon.

Harvest Moon

When the Full Moon occurs closest to the autumnal equinox then this stage is known as Harvest Moon. At this time brightness remain in the night sky which allows farmers to work for longer time in night during summer and spring time. As the equinox generally falls in the late September so, mostly Full Moon occurs in September.  In some years the Full Moon is seen in early October and so, earns the designation of 'Harvest'.

Now you may have come to know about the various phases of the moon and about the harvest moon.

What is lunar eclipse and how does it occur?

Do you know that our moon is made up of 20 smaller moonlets?