Full ‘Harvest Supermoon’ peaks tonight

Some breaks in the clouds should offer a nice view of the third consecutive supermoon over Minnesota tonight.

The closer and brighter than average full moon rises at 7:16 p.m. in the Twin Cities. This is also the full Harvest Moon because it is the full moon that occurs closest to the fall equinox on Sept. 22.

Here's some good stuff on tonight's Harvest Supermoon from space.com.

The full Harvest Moon will light up the night sky on Monday (Sept. 8), and this year it comes with an extra bounty. September's full moon will cap a trio of back-to-back "supermoons" for the Northern Hemisphere summer, according to NASA.

The moon will reach its full phase when it reaches the spot in the sky opposite from the sun. That moment will occur Monday at 9:38 p.m. EDT (0138 GMT). Monday's full moon is the one nearest to the September equinox this year, giving it the moniker of Harvest Moon by the usual definition.

Although we associate the Harvest Moon with autumn, this year's version is actually the last full moon of the summer season. The 2014 Harvest Moon comes about as early in the calendar as possible. However, Harvest Moons can occur as late as Oct. 7.

This full moon also marks the third in a trilogy of "supermoons" this summer. The full moons of July and August both fell during the moon's perigee — when it was at the closest point in its orbit to Earth. While the August supermoon was the closest, this month's full moon also falls during perigee.

Many think that the Harvest Moon remains in the night sky longer than any of the other full moons we see during the year, but that is a myth. The Harvest Moon's claim to fame is that instead of rising its normal average of 50 minutes later each day, it rises only a little later each night, providing farmers with extra moonlit evenings to reap their crops.

This unusually small daily lag in the time of moonrise occurs because the moon is traveling along the part of the ecliptic — the apparent path of the sun with respect to Earth's sky — that makes the smallest angle with the eastern horizon as seen from northern latitudes.

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