A full moon will be visible in the sky this Friday — the first time one has occurred on Friday the 13th in nearly 20 years. The last time the two events coincided was on Oct. 13, 2000, and it will not happen again until Aug. 13, 2049. Peak viewing will be at 12:33am on Saturday morning, but the moon will appear almost entirely full from when the sun goes down Friday evening. It’s also this year’s Harvest Moon — adding another spooky layer to the already ominous date. The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, or the beginning of the fall. This year, the autumnal equinox is on Sept. 23.
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Harvest moons are different from other full moons due to the fact that they rise at roughly the same time for several nights running. This weekend’s moon will also appear full on Saturday night, barring any unforeseen weather conditions. To add yet another unique layer to this year’s harvest moon, it will also appear very small in the sky. On Friday, the moon reaches “apogee,” meaning it is the farthest point in its orbit around the earth. It will be 252,211 miles from Earth’s center, and therefore will appear 14% smaller to people on Earth than it would at its closest point.
Photo Credit: NASA – Bill Ingalls