Good news stargazers!
The first full moon of the northern hemisphere’s fall season will rise into a twilight sky this coming weekend. The “Hunter’s Moon”, as it is called, will rise in the east just after sunset and shine brightly all night before setting in the west close to sunrise.
The moon will reach peak illumination at 5:54 pm Central Daylight Time on Sunday, October 9 though it will be below the horizon at this time so the optimum time to see it in Chicago will be just after sunset on Sunday, October 9 with a second viewing possible after sunset on Monday, October 10.
According to timeanddate.com the sun will set at 6:20 pm CDT before the moon rises at 6:28 pm this coming Sunday and on Monday the moon will then set at 07:39 am before rising again at 6:51 pm after a 6:16 pm sunset.
It may also appear more orange and larger than usual, according to almanac.com but don’t be fooled by the “Moon Illusion,” which makes the Moon appear bigger than it really is.
“When the moon is high overhead, it is dwarfed by the vast hemisphere of the heavens and appears to our eyes as a small disk in the sky. By contrast, when the moon is low, it is viewed in relation to earthly objects, such as chimneys or trees, whose size and shape provide scale. Your brain compares the size of the moon to the trees, buildings, or other reference points, and suddenly, the moon looks massive!” almanac.com explains.
No special equipment will be needed to see the strength of the full moon, though it is of course better glimpsed emerging on the horizon from somewhere high up. Luckily for Chicagoans, with the moon rising in the east after sunset we will have perfect viewing conditions of the moon coming up over Lake Michigan.
The Harvest Moon is the nearest full moon to the date of the autumnal equinox (September 22, 2022) meaning that either September or October’s full moons can be named “the Harvest Moon” while “the Hunter’s Moon” is the first full Moon to follow the Harvest Moon which can occur in either October or November. As the Harvest Moon has already occurred this year on September 10 this coming moon is thus referred to as the Hunter’s Moon.
It is called the Hunter’s Moon because historically “it signaled the time to go hunting in preparation for the cold winter ahead. Animals are beginning to fatten up ahead of winter, and since the farmers had recently cleaned out their fields under the Harvest Moon, hunters could easily see the deer and other animals that had come out to root through the remaining scraps (as well as the foxes and wolves that had come out to prey on them)” according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
[Featured image from Shutterstock]