Coming this Friday night: the spookiest full moon in 13 years.
This Friday the 13th full moon is the first since January 2006.
But this full moon, most commonly known as the harvest moon, will appear much smaller than most. That’s because the moon will be at its apogee, or the farthest point in its roughly four-week orbit. Timeanddate.com estimates a “micromoon” appears 14% smaller and 30% dimmer than the widely reported “supermoons” that dominate the news.
Though there is no universal definition governing what qualifies as a supermoon or micromoon, Time and Date says micromoons must be more than 251,655 miles away from Earth. Friday night’s moon will be 816 miles farther than that.
Supermoons, on the other hand, must be at least 2,039 miles closer to Earth than a micromoon. Most of the time, the moon sits somewhere in between those bounds.
The moon rises over St. Paul at 7:43 p.m. on Friday. Just look to the east about 5 minutes after sunset and you’ll see the orange disk poking above the horizon. Until it’s firmly planted high in the sky, however, it’ll be tough to appreciate just how small it looks.
If you’re looking for a fun Friday night activity, consider inviting your friends and/or resident canine to howl with you.
Some call the harvest moon the “corn moon,” since September marks a time during which farmers in the Plains typically begin harvesting their corn. Farther north, some may wait a bit later.
This Friday the 13th full moon won’t technically reach peak illumination until after midnight on Saturday but for all practical purposes is considered full Friday night. This was also the case in January 2006, when the moon rose the night of the 13th but became full at 4:48 a.m. on Saturday the 14th.
The next time we’ll have a moon approaching fullness on Friday the 13th (before achieving total illumination the next morning) will be in a little more than 13 years, in May 2033.