Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harvest Moon
On Monday when we were having dinner on the ship,  we had a lovely table that looked over the ocean. The waitress looked out the window and said, "Oh look it is a full moon."  Sandi laughed and then gave me a look which I have come to know means... "leave it alone".  That is because I am a "moon phase dilettante".  It was not a full moon, and in fact several days away from it. Normally I would have corrected anyone who tries to claim a full moon when it is simply waxing.
I was born in the middle of July on the night of a full moon,  so I am a moon child by birth.  I didn't always know my astronomical connection to the moon, but I was fascinated by the moon from the moment I knew what it was.  
It was no accident for me that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon in the month of July the week of my birthday.  It all seemed to make sense to me.  When I was working clubs the excuse for a really good crowd, or a really bad crowd, or a really rowdy crowd was "Full moon".  There are more babies born during a full moon than most other times of the month. There is more crime, more accidents and more suicides during a full moon. 
Since the moon phase and orbit affects the tides, the moon controls the cycle of many different types of sea life.  The grunion run on a full moon, certain clams only open during a full moon.  The more you look at it more the moon seems to affect a lot on the earth.  
Last night was a rare Harvest Moon.  According to Wikipedia here is some information on the Harvest moon:
The Harvest Moon comes soon before or soon after the autumnal equinox. It is simply the full moon closest to that equinox. About once every four years it occurs in October (in the northern hemisphere), depending on the cycles of the moon. Currently, the latest the Harvest Moon can occur is on October 7.
In 2010, in the United States, the Harvest Moon happens in the early morning hours of Sept 23, only 5 1/2 hours after the autumnal equinox.
The emphasis is mine. This year, for the first time since the 50's the Harvest Moon was actually on autumnal equinox. I'm not sure what that means symbolically but since it doesn't happen that often I like to think that it is a very good omen, especially for us moon children.
The reason it is called a Harvest moon is because a full moon during the harvest time of the year allowed farmers to extend the hours of their harvest until after dark because it lit up the field.
This is a picture I took of the Harvest moon as it crested above the trees across the street.  No picture really does the moon justice, and especially this one.  However, I wanted to document the phenomenon. To have seen this site in person, the moon would have seemed ten times bigger and much more orange. The next full moon will occur in the United States on Friday, October 22, 2010.  I'll be waiting.
As you were,


Dave Robison said...

I'm not a moon child, but I too, have an affinity for the moon and it's proper phase names. Earlier on Facebook I made the comment I was pretty pissed at author, Arthur C Clarke because with this Harvest Moon, also came the bright naked eye viewing of the planet, Jupiter, just below the Moon. (I didn't see it visible in your photo, but in my neck of the woods it shone with brilliance)

Also, like you, the Apollo 11 landing with Neil and Buzz is a landmark memory for me. So, I'm pissed at Clarke because it's 2010 and we still have no colonies on the Moon and still no men in a spacecraft circling Jupiter. I feel gypped. But I still gaze up at the sky most months and stare at the waxing Gibbous and the Full Moon with wonderment for some unexplained reason.

Roomie said...

It was a beautiful moon and clear sky with Jupiter to it's lower right....