The photos in this post were taken by madbadger2742 (Brock is on Twitter here) from Detroit- and used with his gracious permission since we couldn`t get out for a pic of our current moon. A giant thanks to him for his fantastic photos and another example of a virtual community helping each other out around food.
A giant moon has been hanging over Toronto (and most of North America) in the last few evenings. It appears the harvest moon is back.
I had heard the term many times though wasn’t sure exactly what it meant (I had my guesses). It is essentially a giant looking moon that hangs low on the horizon after the autumnal equinox. It generally appears in late September or early October.
The name is based on the brightness of the moon – it’s bright light was supposedly enough to keep the harvest working through the night as the fields were lit like day time.
A harvest moon does not have to be different colors – and, unlike other things in the sky, colors can be enhanced in the presence of a city.
A neat thing to consider is something called the moon illusion. The moon is a constant distance from us – therefore a harvest moon is no bigger in the sky than a “normal” moon. I found this logical but surprising – I would have bet that I’ve seen moons that I would have bet are much bigger than others (and would have been wrong). The moon illusion is caused be the relative appearance of the moon to the horizon. A low hanging moon looks large compared to the horizon while a typical moon (in the middle of the sky) has nothing to compare to and looks smaller.