Archive for September 20, 2021

09/20/2021 – Ephemeris – The Harvest Moon rises tonight

September 20, 2021 Comments off

This is Ephemeris for Monday, September 20th. Today the Sun will be up for 12 hours and 15 minutes, setting at 7:43, and it will rise tomorrow at 7:29. The Moon, at full today, will rise at 8:03 this evening.

Tonight’s full moon is the Harvest Moon. It is the most famous of the named full moons, and was very useful in the days before electric lights. The reason is that the Moon, around the time it is full now, doesn’t advance its rising time very much from night to night, effectively extending the light of twilight to allow more time to gather in crops. This is because the Moon is moving north as well as eastward. The farther north it is, the longer it stays up and retards the advance in rise times. On average, the Moon rises 50 minutes later each night. This week, the interval is down near 20 minutes advance in moonrise times per day, extending twilight and the time each day to harvest the crops for a few more days.

The astronomical event times given are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan (EDT, UT-4 hr). They may be different for your location.


Autumn vs spring sunset ecliptic

The autumn vs spring sunset ecliptic. I’m using the autumnal equinox 2021, with the tip of the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot at due south, and vernal equinox 2022, with the red star Betelgeuse in Orion at due south as examples. Click on the image to enlarge it. Created using Stellarium and GIMP.

The ecliptic for the autumnal equinox runs low in the south, a preview of the Sun’s apparent travel for the next six months of fall and winter. Besides the planets, the Moon at sticks close to that line, as do the planets. The full moon rising in the east as the Sun sets does so at a shallow angle, so for a week or so around the full moon, its advance in rise times can be as little as 20 minutes per night. In spring, it can be much longer than an hour.