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Full Harvest Moon peaks tomorrow morning for the official start of fall

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Look up tomorrow! Full Harvest Moon peaks on Saturday morning prior to the official start of fall

  • The Harvest Moon peaks Saturday at 10:59 AM BST (5:59 AM EDT)
  • This full moon is closest to the autumnal equinox, which falls on September 23
  • Eagle-eyed stargazers can also see Jupiter, Saturn and the star Vega. to see

If you are a fan of stargazing, set your alarm for tomorrow morning.

The Harvest Moon peaks at 10:59 BST (05:59 EDT), as our lunar satellite appears full in the sky.

This particular full moon comes closest to the autumnal equinox, which falls on September 23 this year.

The full moon itself isn’t the only thing to look out for tomorrow — Jupiter and Saturn will also be visible Saturday night, according to NASA.

The Harvest Moon peaks at 10:59 BST (05:59 EDT), as our lunar satellite appears full in the sky

Full moons in 2022

September 10 – Harvest Moon

October 9 – Hunter’s Moon

November 8 – Beaver Moon

December 8 – Cold Moon

A full moon occurs when the moon is opposite the sun, as seen from Earth, revealing the moon’s day side.

Because this particular full moon is closest to the autumnal equinox, it is commonly known as the Harvest Moon.

“During the fall harvest season, farmers sometimes have to work late into the night under moonlight (especially before the introduction of artificial light),” explains NASA.

“Other European names for this full moon are the Fruit Moon, because some of the fruits ripen as summer approaches, and the Barley Moon, which comes from harvesting and threshing barley.”

Although the moon won’t appear bigger or brighter than usual, you may notice that the moon rises earlier than expected.

“On average, moonrise comes about 50 minutes later each night,” NASA said.

“Around the Harvest Moon, this time is shorter, about 25 minutes for the latitude of Washington, DC, and only 10 to 20 minutes further north in Canada and Europe.”

If you miss the peak tomorrow morning, don’t worry – you still have time to see it.

According to NASA, the moon will appear full until Sunday morning.

Aside from the full moon, eagle-eyed stargazers will also get a chance to spot Jupiter, Saturn and the bright star Vega in the night sky this weekend.

“On the evening of Saturday, September 10, 2022 (the day of the full moon), as twilight ends, the rising moon will appear 4 degrees above the eastern horizon,” NASA advised.

If you miss the peak tomorrow morning, don't worry - you still have time to see it.  According to NASA, the moon will appear full until Sunday morning

If you miss the peak tomorrow morning, don’t worry – you still have time to see it. According to NASA, the moon will appear full until Sunday morning

Jupiter will appear to the left of the Moon, less than 3 degrees above the horizon.

“Saturn will appear 21 degrees above the southeastern horizon.”

“The bright star Vega will appear almost exactly above the horizon at 89.5 degrees above the horizon.”

Vega is the fifth brightest star in our night sky, about 25 light-years from Earth.

It has twice the mass of our sun and shines 40 times brighter than our sun.

Although the Harvest Moon is closest to the official start of fall, there are still a few weeks to go before the Equinox itself.

This year, fall begins on September 23, 2022 and ends on December 21, 2022.

“The astronomical calendar determines the seasons by the 23.5-degree tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis relative to its orbit around the sun,” explains the Met Office on its website.

“Both equinoxes and solstices are related to the Earth’s orbit around the sun.”

The phases of the moon

Like the Earth, the moon has a day side and a night side, which change as the moon rotates.

The sun always illuminates half of the moon while the other half remains dark, but how much we can see of that illuminated half changes as the moon travels through its orbit.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the phases of the moon are:

1. New Moon

This is the invisible phase of the moon, with the illuminated side of the moon facing the sun and the night side facing the earth.

2. Waxing Crescent

This silver streak of a moon occurs when the illuminated half of the moon is mostly directed away from Earth, with only a small portion visible to us from our planet.

3. First Quarter

The moon is now on a quarter of its monthly journey and you can see half of its illuminated side.

4. Gibbous resins

Now most of the dayside of the Moon has come into view and the Moon appears brighter in the sky.

5. Full Moon

This is as close as we get to seeing the sun’s illumination from the full day side of the moon.

6. Waning Gibbous

As the moon begins its journey back to the sun, the far side of the moon is now reflecting the moon’s light.

7. Last Quarter

The moon looks like it’s half lit from Earth’s perspective, but in reality you see half of the moon lit by the sun or a quarter.

8. Waning Crescent

The moon is almost back at the point in its orbit where its day side faces straight toward the sun, and all we see from our perspective is a thin curve.

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