And why people love the Moon

Quick Notes:

  • The fall 2019 season had a rare “Harvest Moon” on Friday, September 13th.

  • Learn more about the “Harvest Moon” and why people are obsessed with the Moon.

Many people are obsessed with the Moon. If the Moon looks particularly beautiful at night, many people will stop what they’re doing to try to take a photo. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to take a clear picture of the Moon. Instead, you simply have to admire the Moon without using your cellular device.

Lately, the Moon has been very active as a trending topic on social media. The fall 2019 season brought an unusual “Harvest Moon” and other unique lunar phases. There is a lot going on with the Moon this season. So, what’s been going on? Don’t worry; we’re breaking it down for you and why people are obsessed with these lunar eclipses.

All about the ‘Harvest Moon’

People love a full moon, especially during the fall season around Halloween. People feel superstitious. They hope werewolves don’t actually exist, and they try their best to stay away from black cats. Every year, the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox (September 23) is known as a “Harvest Moon.” For many people, it’s considered the official “kick off” to the fall season. But this year’s Harvest Moon was particularly special—for one spooky reason.

12019/Pixabay

The Harvest Moon happened to fall on Friday, September 13, so it was extra superstitious. If people were afraid of werewolves before, they had even more reasons to be scared this year. In the United States, a full moon hadn’t been visible on Friday the 13th since October 13, 2000, according to the Farmers’ Almanac. The next Harvest Moon on Friday the 13th isn’t expected to happen until August 13, 2049.

Why this ‘Harvest Moon’ was extra special

This year’s Harvest Moon wasn’t your typical lunar phase. The full moon was split among two different time zones. This means that people living in the Eastern time zone didn’t experience the Harvest Moon until 12:33 AM on Saturday, September 14. For those living in the Central, Mountain, or Pacific time zones, the Moon became full shortly before midnight on the 13th.

In addition, this year’s Harvest Moon was also a “micro moon,” meaning it was just a bit dimmer than usual. The Moon was orbiting at its farthest distance from Earth, also known as apogee. While any full moon is beautiful, it probably didn’t look the same as other full moons people are used to seeing. This didn’t stop space admirers from staying up late on Friday the 13th, waiting to catch a glimpse of the rare full moon.

Why people love the Moon

Since the beginning of time, people have been fascinated by the Moon. This fascination grew into an obsession during the “Space Race to the Moon” in the 1960s. When Apollo 11 finally landed on the Moon in 1969, Americans (and the whole world) held their breath as astronaut Neil Armstrong took “one giant leap for mankind.” Since then, the Moon has continued to mesmerize individuals.

rkarkowski/Pixabay

For one thing, the Moon has always been there. “Anyone who has ever lived, anyone who will ever live, will have done so under the light of the Moon,” said Melanie Vandenbrouck, curator of a Moon-themed exhibition at London’s National Maritime Museum. “It’s an object, which we human beings have been looking at for thousands of years,” Vandenbrouck adds that the Moon is the one object in the nighttime sky that connects us to the universe.

So, whenever the Moon looks different, people notice. They tweet about the “Super Blood Wolf Moon” or the “Super Blue Blood Moon.” These are rare occurrences that most likely won’t happen again for another 50 years. When they happen, people realize it’s important to observe them before they miss out on the chance to witness the special lunar phenomenons in their lifetime.

A deeper dive – Related reading from the 101:

The Moon had an earthquake in the 1960s. Data from the earthquake reveals more about the Moon’s surface and composition.

People have always been fascinated by the Moon. However, the Apollo space missions provided more insights about the Moon, including its age and how it was formed.