Tonight’s Hunter’s Moon … and November’s Extra Super Moon

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Catching the Hunter’s Moon, photo by Brad Worrell

EarthSky notes that 2016 Hunter’s Moon is also a supermoon, explaining:

In some months, the full moon is closer to us in orbit than others. The 2016 Hunter’s Moon does happen to be particularly close. It’s near perigee, the moon’s closest point to Earth in its monthly orbit. Perigee comes on October 16 at 23:36 UTC (translate to your time zone), about 19 hours after the crest of the moon’s full phase at 4:23 UTC on the same date. Nowadays, people call these close full moons supermoons.

Some don’t like the word supermoon … but we like it. Full moons at their closest to Earth do look brighter. They have a larger-than-usual effect on earthly tides. Although most of us can’t detect that a supermoon appears larger to the eye, very careful and experienced observers say it’s possible.

So you won’t likely see a bigger-than-usual moon (unless you see it near the horizon, an effect known as the moon illusion). But you can notice how brightly the moon is shining, especially on the nights of October 15 and 16!

Next month – in November 2016, the full moon and perigee (closest point) come even closer together to stage the largest full moon of the year on November 14. … That November 2016 full moon will feature the closest supermoon since 1948!

Tons more about the Hunter’s Moon on EarthSky!

View Brad’s photo bigger and seem more in his Not More Pictures of the Moon! slideshow (note: more pictures of the moon are there).

October’s Full Moon: a super Hunter’s Blood Moon in eclipse

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sandhill moon, photo by Frank Kaelin

EarthSky reports that for the full moon on October 8th, there’s a whole lot going on!

In skylore, the Northern Hemisphere’s Hunter’s Moon on October 7-8 will be called a Blood Moon. Plus the October 7-8 total lunar eclipse – the second of four total lunar eclipses in the ongoing lunar tetrad – has been widely called a Blood Moon. Voila. Double Blood Moon.

Hunter’s Moon the name for the full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon nearest the September 23 autumnal equinox. This year, the Harvest Moon came on September 9. That’s why tonight’s moon bears the name Hunter’s Moon.

…In 2014 and 2015, a new usage of the term Blood Moon sprang up. Surely you heard about it at the total lunar eclipse in April 2014. It’s the name being used for the four eclipses of the ongoing lunar tetrad – four total lunar eclipses in a row, each separated from the other by six lunar months. (more on this on Michigan in Pictures)

The partial umbral eclipse begins at 5:15 AM EDT on October 8, with the total eclipse starting at 6:25 AM, peaking at 6:55 and ending at 7:24.  On top of all that is the question as to whether or not October 8th’s moon is a supermoon:

At least two commentators – Richard Nolle and Fred Espenak – disagree on whether the October 8, 2014 full moon should be called a supermoon. Is it? You’re likely to see all sorts of conflicting information in October, 2014. If you define a supermoon based on the year’s closest perigee and farthest apogee, then the October 8 moon is not a supermoon. If you define a supermoon based on the perigee and apogee for a given monthly orbit, then it is a supermoon. And not just any supermoon, but a super Hunter’s Blood Moon in eclipse!

I guess with Frank’s photo from October 2013, we could add “Sandhill Moon” to the list! He writes that he took this at the Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary where counts were as high as eight thousand sandhill cranes a day during last fall’s migration! View his photo bigger and see more in his Landscape slideshow.

Lots more full moon magic on Michigan in Pictures!

 

Church of the Hunter’s Moon

Church of the Hunter's Moon

Church of the Hunter’s Moon, photo by Kevin’s Stuff

Deborah Byrd is the founder of one of my favorite sites , EarthSky. Her article Everything you need to know: Hunter’s Moon 2013 explains:

If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, look for the moon to be bright and full-looking for several nights around October 18, 19 and 20. Around all of these nights, you’ll see a bright round moon in your sky, rising around the time of sunset, highest in the middle of the night. This procession of moonlit nights is what characterizes a Hunter’s Moon.

…the full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Harvest Moon sometimes falls in September and sometimes falls in October. So the Hunter’s Moon sometimes falls in October and sometimes in November.

But the Hunter’s Moon is also more than just a name. Nature is particularly cooperative around the time of the autumn equinox to make the full moonrises unique around this time. Here’s what happens. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day. But when a full moon happens close to the autumnal equinox – either a Harvest or a Hunter’s Moon – the moon (at mid-temperate latitudes) rises only about 30 to 35 minutes later daily for several days before and after the full moon.

Why? The reason is that the ecliptic – or the moon’s orbital path – makes a narrow angle with the evening horizon around the time of the autumn equinox. The narrow angle of the ecliptic results in a shorter-than-usual rising time between successive moonrises around the full Hunter’s Moon. These early evening moonrises are what make every Hunter’s Moon special. Every full moon rises around sunset. After the full Hunter’s Moon, you’ll see the moon ascending in the east relatively soon after sunset for a few days in a row at northerly latitudes.

Read on for more and definitely subscribe to their email!

Kevin is our go-to guy for all things astronomical. Check his photo out bigger and see more in his The Moon slideshow.

Lots more moon fun on Michigan in Pictures!