The full moon in September isn’t just any regular full moon – it’s the Harvest Moon. And this year, a penumbral lunar eclipse will coincide with the lunar event.
According to Space.com, the term “Harvest Moon” refers to the full moon that falls nearest to the autumnal equinox, which will take place on September 22. This year, that moon occurs on Friday, September 16.
A full moon occurs when the moon is on the side of the Earth opposite from the sun. The earth, the moon, and the sun all fall in a straight line.
Sometimes, when they all line up, the earth’s shadow blocks the sunlight from falling onto the surface of the moon. That will be the case today, and the moon will pass through the very outer region of Earth's shadow creating a penumbral eclipse, according to Space.com.
This is the last harvest moon eclipse of any kind that we’ll see until 2024. The next total eclipse of the moon will be January 31, 2018.
“The eclipse will be visible to varying degrees across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Western Pacific. The point of maximum eclipse will take place at 18:54:20 Universal Time (UTC), or 2:54 a.m. EDT. Viewers in other parts of the world will enjoy a normal full moon,” writes Space.com.
When you can see it
The exact time the full moon will occur is 3:05 p.m. EDT. However, the moon will appear full for a few days.
How you can see it
You should be able to see a lot of amazing features on the surface of the moon even without a telescope tonight.
First, look for contrasting light and dark regions. The light regions are older layers of rock that floated to the surface.
Next, you should be able to see Tycho crater in the bottom-left portion of the moon. The crater is noticeable because of the bright streaks emanating from the center, according to Space.com.
Besides looking outside to see it, you can also see it during a four-hour webcast on Slooh.com beginning at 12:45 p.m. EDT.