In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset. It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market.” ~Tony Phillips, NASA
So it may not look like much but this is a photo I took last night of the moon. It’s a full moon that shone so brightly last night after the rain folks on twitter tweeted about it, including Erykah Badu.
What was so special about last night? The fall equinox which occurred last night at 11:09 p.m. EDT shortly before this photo was taken. Not since 1991 has a full moon occurred on the same night as the fall equinox, and it won’t happen again until 2029 according to NASA. That and the fact it was bright enough to read The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan in my room last night.
During an equinox the sun is directly above Earth’s equator, and the day and night are about the same length.
“A bright Harvest Moon ushered in the changing seasons on Earth late Wednesday (Sept. 22) in a rare cosmic arrangement that has not occurred in nearly 20 years.” NASA astronomer Tony Phillips said this year the full moon occurred just 6 hours after the equinox, making it what Phillips called a “Super Harvest Moon”, which takes its name from agriculture.
Jupiter also aligned with Uranus and will be visible till Saturday. Tonight there will also be a bright iridium flare at 8:47pm EST in the northern sky.
Take some time out to look at the moon tonight, it’s free and couldn’t hurt. Every now and then even environmentalists need to get some perspective on this planet’s place in the universe by looking at something humans have looked at on the planet for millennia as we work for humans to be able to do that here for more millennia.