TONIGHT: September’s full moon is special, when to see moonrise this week

The full moon sets among the pine trees alongside the Beeline Highway Thursday morning July 2, 2015 . This is the first of two full moons this month; the next one is July 31. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

September’s full harvest moon rises tonight, but there’s something special about the lunar machinations this time of year.

Near the fall equinox, which was Saturday, the moon rises each day closer together, according to Earth and Sky. That means instead of a delay between 40 and 50 minutes each subsequent day, it’s more like 30 to 35 minutes.

The higher the latitude, the shorter the time lag. In Alaska, the lag time is just 10 minutes. In Denver it’s 30 minutes.

RELATED: It’s fall, but when will South Florida start feeling like it? 

“No matter where you live worldwide, the moon will appear plenty full to you on both September 24 and 25, lighting up the night from dusk until dawn,” said Earth and Sky columnist Bruce McClure.

In West Palm Beach, moonrise tonight is 7:20 p.m.

Tuesday’s moonrise will be 7:55 p.m..

Wednesday will see the moon rise at 8:41 p.m.

The Harvest Moon is the only Full Moon name which is determined by the equinox rather than a month, according to TimeandDate.com.

Bottom line, look east tonight at 7:20 p.m. for September’s full harvest moon. Go to the beach, or the Intracoastal waterway for a special celestial treat when the moon emerges large and plump over the flat horizon.

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The glow of sunrise warms the setting full moon behind the steeple of Family Church on Flagler Drive Thursday morning, May 11, 2017. (Lannis Waters @lvw839/The Palm Beach Post)

 

Strawberry moon blooms this week, why it’s special

A super moon rises over the Boynton Beach Inlet in Boynton Beach, Florida on September 8, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

June’s full strawberry moon appears this week with a special guest to keep it company in its travels.

While the moon becomes full at precisely 12:53 a.m. Thursday, it will rise big and bright tonight (Wednesday) at 7:57 p.m., and Thursday at 8:46 p.m.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

With it tonight will be a bright shining point near its bottom and to the right that looks like a star, but is really the great ringed planet Saturn. As the month comes to an end, red Mars will be a closer companion to the waning gibbous moon on June 30.

South Florida’s summer afternoon thunderstorm pattern is expected to continue through the end of the week, so seeing the moon will depend on where the storms erupt and when they clear.

“As our Earth turns underneath the heavens on these June nights, this month’s full moon and Saturn will move westward across your sky,” said Bruce McClure in his column for EarthSky.org. “As seen from the whole Earth, the twosome will climb highest up for the night around midnight, and will sit low in the west at dawn on June 28 and 29.”

Native Americans named the moons based on seasonal changes that aligned with hunting, planting or weather patterns. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the strawberry moon was used by Algonquin tribes.

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In Europe June’s moon was given the moniker the rose moon.

Regardless of the pink-hued names, the strawberry moon will not be red.

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Courtesy EarthSky.org

March’s unusual full moons include one worm, one blue

Rare moons are plentiful this season with March marking another unusual lunar event with a full worm moon and full blue moon both on the calendar.

It’s the second month this year with two full moons.  January broke the ice with two full moons, including one lunar eclipse. February had no full moon.

March has full moons Thursday and on the 31st.

A super moon rises over the Boynton Beach Inlet in Boynton Beach, Florida on September 8, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

March’s full moon is traditionally called the worm moon, a name given by some Native Americans because it is a time when the Earth begins to thaw and earthworms reappear, according to the Farmers’ Almanac.

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A blue moon is popularly defined as the second full moon in a month. It happens about once every 2.7 years, so having two blue moons in the same year is unusual.

“It’s not something happening every week,” said Kelly Beatty, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine.  “Because of the fact we have two full moons in January, we’ll also have two full moons in March but no full moon in February. It’s interesting calendrical quirk.”

SEE: Check The Palm Beach Post radar map

For South Florida, Thursday’s moon will become full at 7:51 p.m., but will appear full enough as it crests the eastern horizon at 6:13 p.m.

A forecast for mostly clear skies with temperatures nera may mean prime viewing of the moonrise from the beach where it will appear low and large in the sky.

On March 31, the blue moon will rise at 7:59 p.m. It becomes completely full at 8:36.

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Lunar triple treat: supermoons, a blue moon and an eclipse

The universe ushers in 2018 with an overflow of lunar delight, including two supermoons, a rare blue moon and a total lunar eclipse.

On New Year’s Day, the closest full moon of the year and the closest lunar perigee of 2018 will swing by Earth making January’s first full moon a supermoon in the strictest sense of the definition.

Supermoon’s are defined as moons that are full when they are also at or near their closest point in orbit around Earth, called perigee. NASA is counting the Dec. 3 full moon, the Jan. 1 full moon and the Jan. 31 full moon as supermoons.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

But the New Year’s Day full moon is the closest to Earth for all of 2018.

Supermoons can appear 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than full moons that occur near apogee – the furthest from Earth.

“The supermoons are a great opportunity for people to start looking at the Moon, not just that once but every chance they have,” said Noah Petro, a research scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in a lunar blog.

The full moon sets among the pine trees alongside the Beeline Highway Thursday morning July 2, 2015 . This is the first of two full moons this month; the next one is July 31. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

The term supermoon was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle as a way to define a moon that is at 90 percent or more of its closest approach to Earth. But since then, others, including astronomers, have picked up on the catchy nickname and brought their own definitions to the table.

That’s why, depending on the source, there could be between four and six supermoons on average a year.

The Jan. 1 full moon will become precisely full at 9:24 p.m. EST, but will rise over the eastern horizon in South Florida at 5:31 p.m.

Because the Jan. 31 full moon, which will rise at 6:25 p.m., is the second full moon of the month, it is called a blue moon – a moniker one folklorist said is akin to saying something will never happen.  Blue moons happen about once every 2.7 years.

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A blue moon is not really blue.

The glow of sunrise warms the setting full moon behind the steeple of Family Church on Flagler Drive Thursday morning, May 11, 2017. (Lannis Waters @lvw839/The Palm Beach Post)

But the January blue moon will offer something extra special. It will also experience a total lunar eclipse that will be seen fully in western North America across the pacific to Eastern Asia.

Areas in the eastern U.S., including Florida, can catch the partial lunar eclipse very early in the morning before it sets in the west.

A full moon occurs when the moon is opposite the sun. Total lunar eclipses occur when a full moon lines up perfectly with the Earth and Sun so that Earth’s shadow blocks the sun’s light from reflecting off the moon.

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the shadow of the Earth blocks sunlight from reaching a full moon. Courtesy NASA

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Why tonight’s full moon is a little fishy

The August full moon rises bold tonight, breaking the horizon at 8:07 p.m. with the promise of a freshwater bounty of fish.

Native Americans often named moons based on environmental factors occurring at the time of their rising.

In August, they knew the spindle-shaped sturgeon would be plentiful in the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain, hence, August’s full moon is the sturgeon moon.

Related: See a list of all full moon names here. 

Sturgeons swim Thursday, July 20, 2006, at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Fla., The marine research center raises the fish to sell in local restaurants, and for research and renourishment projects. (AP Photo/Sarasota Herald Tribune, Rod Millington)

This moon becomes completely full at 2:11 p.m. – a fleeting moment that will matter little when it rises just six hours later.

Different tribes had different names for moons.

August’s moon was also called the blueberry moon by the Ojibway and the “Moon when all things ripen” by the Dakotah Sioux., according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Sturgeon are bottom feeders and were considered a nuisance for many years by commercial fisherman whose nets would be ripped apart by the bony plates on the sturgeon’s sides and back.

When their eggs became prized for caviar, they became over fished. But multiple efforts are underway to replenish lake sturgeon throughout the U.S.

 

Great American eclipse: Celestial mechanics or Act of God?

Man has always looked to the cosmos for answers, with delight, in fear, and for signs.

In August, the boldest sign the universe can bring — a midday midnight — will be on display for millions of people as a total solar eclipse paints a black ribbon coast-to-coast.

It is mechanical, an alignment predictable to the second, an event ripe for scientific study. Yet, it is also an apparition so profound that historically, and even today, a total solar eclipse is considered by some a signal from a higher power, or a harbinger of apocalypse.

“Total eclipses are so phenomenal and so overpowering and so amazing that some people have ascribed a ‘super spirituality’ to them,” said Dan McGlaun, a 12-time total solar eclipse viewer who runs the website Eclipse2017.org. “That’s why so many cultures have created stories and myths about eclipses throughout history.”

Related: South Floridians prepare for total solar eclipse.

The Aug. 21 total solar eclipse is the first in 99 years to cross the U.S., traveling from Oregon to South Carolina. Everyone in North America will be able to see the eclipse, but only those in the 70-mile wide path of totality will witness a black hole open in the daytime sky as the moon envelops the sun.

The cross-country eclipse will take 90 minutes, beginning at 10:15 a.m. PST in Newport, Ore., and ending 4:10 p.m. EST in Charleston, S.C. For two minutes, 40 seconds, darkness will reign in the strip of totality where 12 million people live and millions more will journey.

Related: New heat-activated eclipse stamp does something no other stamp can.

The moon passes between the sun and the earth causing a partial solar eclipse  Staff photo by Allen Eyestone.

In ancient times, mythical animals were often blamed for the darkness, eating the sun bite by bite to starve people of life-giving light. An invisible dragon swallowed the sun in China. India had a serpent head with no body munching on the bright star. Demon dogs did the deed in Scandinavia. The Mayans thought a giant Jaguar was the culprit.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

Some Australian aboriginal tribes thought the eclipse was the joining of the moon and sun as man and wife, or the moon (man) pulling the curtains of the sky closed for privacy as they came together.

“That’s really the sweetest one I’ve heard,” said Lika Guhathakurta, NASA’s lead scientist for the eclipse. “Most cultures have regarded eclipses with great trepidation and fear, and you can understand why when all of a sudden darkness descends during the day and you don’t know why.”

Historical cloudiness for Aug. 21, 2017 eclipse.

Related: Best places to see the 2017 solar eclipse.

Guhathakurta said in remote parts of India people hold onto folklore beliefs that food cooked during an eclipse is poison and people bang pots and pans together to frighten away the moon so the sun can shine again. There is also a misconception that solar eclipses can harm pregnant women, who are asked to stay indoors during the event.

As recent as 1995, Guhathakurta said she saw the pots and pans ritual in India. In 1998, she saw the same thing in Mongolia.

“Even in our country, there are all kinds of ideas,” said Guhathakurta.

Find out what they are in the full story at MyPalmBeachPost. 

Strawberry moon rises this week, when and where to look

June’s full strawberry moon rises this week, lifting over the horizon Friday as a signal that berries are ripening and summer is nigh.

The moon this month turns truly full at 9:10 a.m. Friday, meaning it will be near its plumpest when it appears over Palm Beach County with the sun’s retreat.

Moon rise Friday is 8:22 p.m. in the east-southeast.

Tonight, moon rise will be at 7:32 p.m.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

The glow of sunrise warms the setting full moon behind the steeple of Family Church on Flagler Drive Thursday morning, May 11, 2017. (Lannis Waters @lvw839/The Palm Beach Post)

Native Americans named the moons based on seasonal changes that aligned with hunting, planting or weather patterns. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the strawberry moon was used by Algonquin tribes.

In Europe June’s moon was given the moniker the rose moon.

Regardless of the pink-hued names, the strawberry moon will not be red. It is notable for being the farthest full moon this year from Earth, Earth Sky said. 

That means it will also be the smallest full moon in 2017.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

The full moon sets among the pine trees alongside the Beeline Highway Thursday morning July 2, 2015 . This is the first of two full moons this month; the next one is July 31. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

“We’ve heard it called the micro-moon or the mini-moon,” Bruce McClure wrote in a story for Earth Sky. “This June full moon occurs less than one day after reaching lunar apogee, the moon’s farthest point in its monthly orbit.”

Space.com said mini-moons can look up to 14 percent smaller than super moons and are slightly less luminous than regular full moons.

Mother Nature may allow a break in the clouds for South Florida to see the full moon.

Friday’s forecast calls for a 40 to 60 percent chance of rain, but the showers are not expected to be the widespread rain experienced earlier this week.

If you’re curious about other moon names, a list for 2017 full moons is below.

 

Full moon names

 

Full flower moon blooms this week, when to see it rise big and bright

The full May moon rises this week with promises of summertime sunshine and colorful flora.

May’s moon is called the flower moon because of the bounty of blooms that can sprout this time of year, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Related: New solar eclipse stamps do something no other stamp can. 

It is also called the full “corn planting moon,” or the full milk moon.

For South Florida, the flower moon will rise Wednesday bright and large in the east-southeast at 7:53 p.m.

With a high pressure system forcing clear skies, it should be quite a site Wednesday.

On Thursday, it rises at 8:45 p.m.

The glow of sunrise warms the setting full moon behind the steeple of Family Church on Flagler Drive Thursday morning, May 11, 2017. (Lannis Waters @lvw839/The Palm Beach Post)

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

The exact moment at which the moon is fullest – 5:43 p.m. EST – won’t be visible to observers in North America, because the moon will be below the horizon, according to Space.com.

Moons were given names by Native Americans, who measured time in tune with Mother Nature and seasonal changes, according to the almanac.

“Many tribes kept track of time by observing the seasons and lunar months, although there was much variability” the almanac says.  “The name itself usually described some activity that occurred during that time in their location.”

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

Full moon names

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April’s full moon still on display, but will it really be pink?

April’s pink moon will be 98 percent full tonight, after reaching it’s fullest phase early Tuesday morning.

But to the average observer, the 9:07 p.m. moon rise Wednesday will still be big and bright, but not necessarily pink.

While the moon this month is called the pink moon, it won’t really have a rose-colored hue. It’s name is derived from the pink flowers of the wild ground phlox that bloom this time of year in many parts of the U.S., according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

A super moon rises over the Boynton Beach Inlet in Boynton Beach, Florida on September 8, 2014. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

Related: Strawberry moon photos flood social media

April’s full moon is the first of the spring season and shines this year with the “dazzling planet Jupiter,” EarthSky.org notes. 

Jupiter will be shining bright above and to the right of the full moon, with the star Spica below Jupiter and the moon.

Related: When is the wolf moon? 

The National Weather Service in Miami is forecasting only a partly cloudy night Tuesday with almost no chance of rain except for a passing shower, so the celestial trio should be well displayed.

Moons were given names by Native Americans, who measured time in tune with Mother Nature and seasonal changes, according to the almanac.

April’s full moon is also called the Sprouting Grass moon, the Egg moon and the Fishing moon.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

“Many tribes kept track of time by observing the seasons and lunar months, although there was much variability” the almanac says.  “The name itself usually described some activity that occurred during that time in their location.”

This year’s full moons and names follow, as printed by Space.com. 

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March’s full “worm” moon is this week, when to see it rise

As winter stutters to a close and spring pushes up from roots to bloom, March’s full worm moon will rise this week.

While the moon reaches its peak fullness Sunday at 11:54 a.m., it will be bold and bright Saturday, which could be a good time to watch the moon rise in Palm Beach County depending on how much sun remains.

Check The Palm Beach Post radar map.

The full moon is shown during the lunar eclipse on Sunday, September 27, 2015. (Thomas Cordy / The Palm Beach Post)

On Saturday, the moon will rise in the east at 5:47 p.m. The forecast calls for partly cloud skies in the evening. 

On Sunday, it will rise at 7:43 p.m., but among mostly cloudy skies and a 30 percent chance of rain. 

Don’t forget to turn your clocks one hour forward Sunday at 2 a.m. for Daylight Saving Time.

March’s full moon is dubbed the worm moon because it is now when the ground softens enough for earthworms to reappear, attracting robins and signs of rebirth.

Download the Palm Beach Post WeatherPlus app here.

According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, early Native Americans observed time by the seasonal changes, naming moons based on what they saw in Mother Nature.

March’s moon is also known as the sap moon. It is the last full moon of the winter season, occurring eight days before the spring equinox.

“This March full moon counts as the third of three full moons in between the December solstice and the March equinox,” wrote Bruce McClure in his column for EarthSky.org. “Watch it shine throughout the night, as the season’s final full moon is a welcome harbinger of spring for the Northern Hemisphere, and counts as the Southern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon.”

The worm moon has nothing to do with Frank Herbert’s epic science fiction novel Dune, but here’s a clip of the sand worms of Arrakis just because it’s hump day and something fun was in order.

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