Hunter’s Moon: Oct. 16
Fall has set in. Crops have been harvested, and it’s time for hunting. At least that’s how it’s traditionally been done for centuries. In subsistence cultures, at this period of the year, the deer have fattened themselves up on summer grasses. It makes them more desirable to hunters preparing for the long winter, hence the name, Hunter’s Moon.
This Hunter’s Moon may also be called the ‘Dying Grass Moon’ or the ‘Travel Moon’ depending upon its place in their traditional culture. Because this Hunter’s Moon is particularly bright, it allows hunters to find prey during the night. In this way, it’s similar to the Harvest Moon that’s just past. That moon’s brightness helped extend outdoor activities around the farm to stretch into evening hours.
Not Actually Brighter
In an age without electric lighting, such things were of paramount importance. People paid greater attention to the subtleties of the natural world and made a note of the moon’s apparent increase in brightness.
While a hunter’s moon and the harvest moon before it, may appear bigger and brighter, the only difference is its orbit. Around the autumn equinox, the moon’s orbit makes a narrower angle with the horizon.
Appearance of the Hunter’s Moon
The hunter’s moon appears redder because the atmosphere is thicker as you look to the horizon instead of up above in the night sky. And because the hunter’s moon is a full moon, the red-orange illusion shines brighter than other monthly moons.
The hunter’s moon arrives once a year after the harvest moon — the full moon closest to the autumn equinox. For much of the year, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, but with the hunter’s moon that changes to 30 minutes.
It’s also a “Supermoon”
If the black moon a few weeks ago didn’t pique your interest, this weekend’s hunter’s moon might do the trick, with its added bonus that it’s also a supermoon.
Best seen Saturday and Sunday nights, the hunter’s moon will light up the night sky with red and orange hues, and this year’s supermoon status will only enhance that experience.
The glow from this year’s hunter’s moon will get an extra boost because it’s also a supermoon, a phenomenon that occurs when the moon’s orbit comes closer to Earth. The combination means those reds and oranges of the horizon hugging Hunter’s Moon will beam even brighter.
This year’s Hunter’s Supermoon will orbit the Earth at its closest point. That is also known as its perigee. Sunday, October 16, 2016, is the best chance to see the Hunter’s Moon. That’s the night when the moon appears to be fullest. Provided the sky isn’t full of clouds instead of the full moon.
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