JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Saturday night, the full moon rises at sunset, and it's one of the most viewable moon's of the year.
The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. At 11:19 p.m. Saturday evening, the moon will appear its fullest and brightest for this cycle. Traditionally, the Harvest moon appears quite bright and sometimes has an orange shade, that is due to the moon rising around sunset- on the horizon.
According to Deborah Byrd of Astronomy Essentials, "The orange color of a moon near the horizon is a true physical effect. It stems from the fact that – when you look toward the horizon – you are looking through a greater thickness of Earth's atmosphere than when you gaze up and overhead. The atmosphere scatters blue light – that's why the sky looks blue. The greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon scatters blue light most effectively, but it lets red light pass through to your eyes. So a moon near the horizon takes on a yellow or orange or reddish hue."
The Harvest Moon is not actually closer and should not technically appear any larger than other full moons of the year. Cavan Sieczkowski explains, "Whenever a full moon is low on the horizon is appears larger, but that is just an optical illusion caused by distance."
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