An Astronomical Twofer This Week: Harvest Moon and Fall Equinox | Chicago News

A full moon. (Lim Yaw Keong / Pixabay)

Two warning signs of fall – the harvest moon and the fall equinox – occur within days of each other this week, resulting in sunsets and sunrises. interesting moonlight.

The two events can take place up to two weeks apart, but in 2021, the harvest moon rose on Monday and will have lost only an almost indistinguishable burst of fullness by the equinox, set at Wednesday (at 2:21 p.m. CST, to be exact).

The crop moon is the name given to the full moon closest to the fall equinox, the day the sun is exactly above the earth’s equator.

Some phenomena to watch out for:

– The sun sets more quickly around the equinox (whether in fall or spring) than at any other time of the year, reaching the horizon at the steepest angle possible.

– The moon rises closer to sunset when a full moon coincides with an equinox. In the next few days, the moon will rise during or near dusk. The presence of the moonlight from dusk to dawn is one of the reasons for the name of the harvest moon, its glow helping farmers in the fields in the days before the headlights of tractors.

– Take advantage of the “Chicagohenge” effect. During the fall and spring equinoxes, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, aligning the orb with the gridlines of Chicago streets. Chicagohenge is the most dazzling downtown, where the setting sun is framed by the city’s architectural canyons, but the spectacle is visible from any of the city’s east-west streets.

– While you are looking at the moon, don’t miss Jupiter. It would be the bright “star” hanging near the moon. With Chicago’s light pollution, Jupiter is almost the only object visible in the night sky other than the moon – and airplanes – so it’s hard to miss. Saturn is also nearby, but it is weaker.

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 | [email protected]

About Johnnie Gross

Johnnie Gross

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