Looking up tonight is sure to be an impressive sight, with a full harvest moon signalling summer’s near end surrounded by reddish orange lights.
Kevin Lewis of Johns Hopkins University says the color is due to dust and aerosols in the atmosphere reflecting light reaching the moon’s surface.
First Quarter Moon
Tonight, as it reaches its first quarter phase, half of its face is illuminated as we mark one third of its journey around Earth.
The First Quarter Moon rises around sunset and will be fully lit before midnight, appearing as a crescent shape 90 degrees east of the Sun in the sky. Half its total area will be illuminated, making this moon visible from Earth.
Astronomers know this is an ideal opportunity to observe the night sky. Because moon’s position and brightness can influence how stars shine in our skies, studying it provides us with insight into more about our celestial bodies.
At sunset, when this phase begins, its illuminated side is closest to Earth and appears at its brightest. Over time, however, this area will shrink until fully lit at Full Moon.
Binoculars or telescopes provide various methods of viewing the Moon. You can examine its bright limb, which offers an insight into its curved shape; or you may witness its shadow as its orbit repositions it between Earth and Sun.
At sunset, it’s easy to spot the Moon’s shadow, but other times of illumination occur as well. At new moon it becomes half illuminated in the northern hemisphere while on Full Moon night it fully illuminates in the southern hemisphere.
As part of its lunar cycle, the Moon’s surface exhibits characteristics known as waxing crescent, in which illuminated regions increase from their minimum at new moon to their maximum at full moon and then begin their decline after full moon as part of waning crescent phase.
Now is an amazing opportunity to witness the moon, with its illumination making the skies much more colorful than normal. Now is also an ideal opportunity to take photographs of both stars and moon using either your phone camera or DSLR camera.
Tonight is an exceptionally beautiful full moon, signaling autumn’s start and signalling its end as summer dwindles away. According to NASA, its peak illumination occurs tonight around 11:32 pm Eastern Time.
Harvest Moon refers to the last full moon of summer that falls closest to autumn’s start date, marking an eventful season of corn harvesting and providing light during night time hours. Native Americans used the name Harvest Moon when referring to this eventful full moon as lighting up the skies during this harvest period.
But the moon has more to it than seasonal significance: It serves as an auspicious signpost of the new year and serves as a timely reminder that things are about to shift for good or ill in our world. Now is a good time to evaluate where you stand in life, as well as set intentions for the upcoming 12 months.
At this time of the month, people also use it as an opportunity to practice spirituality and meditate – or just relax and be with nature. Many people also participate in moon rituals as a great way to center yourself and connect with their spirituality.
No matter your experience level with moon meditation, I highly suggest giving it a try at least once in any month of a full moon. Doing this will enable you to connect with your inner light and gain deeper understanding of yourself.
At its full moon phase, the moon appears a vibrant reddish-orange hue due to reflected solar rays illuminating it and giving off its signature glowing appearance.
The Full Moon is the largest of three phases in a lunar cycle, visible from most locations around the world and most dramatic during spring and fall months.
An eclipse occurs when Earth, Moon, and Sun align – this will occur around May 15th 2021 for maximum viewing opportunities of total lunar eclipse.
The New Moon provides the ideal opportunity to reflect and make subtle yet lasting life changes. It symbolizes new beginnings and endless possibility, giving you confidence for the next month with renewed optimism.
Starting something new or starting a business at this time can also be great fun and allows you to look ahead and plant seeds of success for future success.
Yasmin Boland, author of Moonology and creator of the Manifestation Oracle, advises this is the time to plant seeds that will eventually bear fruit into something greater. She suggests using oracle cards to find guidance and direction for manifesting efforts.
Many consider the new moon phase to be one of the most spiritual and significant lunar phases, with its appearance associated with various spiritual beliefs and occult happenings. This belief is particularly prevalent within Islamic tradition which marks February’s new moon as a holy day.
Astronomers disagree about the exact location of a new moon, though it should typically be visible in the night sky. However, those living in areas with heavy opacity or light pollution may find it harder to detect it since its shadow is often present nearer the Earth’s surface.
For those living in regions with clear skies, the new moon marks an excellent opportunity to look up at the night sky and admire stars, planets, meteor showers, as well as deep sky objects such as star clusters, nebulae and galaxies.
Lunar eclipses are also an amazing sight, as the Moon sits between Earth and Sun during this phase. While lunar eclipses are uncommon, they do sometimes happen around New Moon or Full Moon phases.
Tonight could bring with it the rare chance to witness a Super Moon – an extra-large full moon due to its closeness with Earth, according to Paul McFarlane from the Fleischmann Planetarium at University of Nevada Reno.
Last Quarter Moon
Last night if you stayed up late, the moon may have appeared stunning, its full glow reflecting brilliantly off its surface. Yet this moon appeared 17% smaller than usual because it was closer to Earth than usual and therefore considered a micromoon.
NASA reports that Saturday’s full moon reached peak illumination at 11:32 pm ET and was visible for extended periods above the eastern horizon, drawing interest from night-time skygazers who ventured out.
However, tonight the moon will appear less brilliant; on Friday it will reach half illumination during its last quarter phase.
This phase represents three-quarters of an orbit, taking approximately 29.5 days. It is known as “last quarter”.
When the new moon, first quarter and full moon come together, 50% of its surface will be illuminated; when last quarter occurs, 57% will be lit; hence why last quarter Moons are sometimes called third quarter Moons.
Waning Moon refers to when the light side of the Moon becomes less and less visible during its orbital path, creating an intriguing yet mesmerizing spectacle! Don’t miss this fascinating and breathtaking show!
As the Moon nears its last quarter, it transforms into a waning crescent, gradually giving off more light each day until reaching New Moon phase again. Now is an excellent opportunity to set intentions, make wishes, and start working toward your goals.
As the Moon nears its final quarter, now is an opportune moment to release any negativity that has been plaguing you – be it resentment or fear – and shed any old habits or destructive patterns that have been hindering your happiness. Take advantage of this empowering energy of Last Quarter Moon! Make changes in your life!