Tonight's Harvest Moon Eclipse Last One To Happen Until 2024

If it's night where you are right now, drop what you're doing and go outside! The harvest moon is rising tonight, and there won't be another one like it until 2024.

Why is this particular harvest moon so special? This year much of the world will get the chance to see not only a very large harvest moon, but also a penumbral eclipse, which is when the moon has just the faintest part of the Earth's shadow across the surface. This will make the moon appear darker than normal. These two lunar events won't happen together again until the year 2024.

harvest moon
(Photo: Twitter / @Hellogiggles)

The best places to view the eclipse are in the Eastern hemisphere, so Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. The Americas in the Western hemisphere won't get the best view of the shadow, but will still get an impressive sight of the large bright moon.

The term "harvest moon" comes from the fact that this full moon is the one that occurs closest to the fall equinox, therefore it gives farmers more light to "harvest" their crops. As summer draws to a close, the moon rises 50 minutes later each day than it did the day before. But not a harvest moon, which rises 30 minutes later than the day before.

So, go out and do a bit of moon-gazing tonight. If it's a bit too cloudy for you to see the full harvest moon, don't worry, it promises to be just as big and bright the rest of the weekend as well.

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[H/T USA Today]