Tonight – October 16, 2016 – keep moon-watching! If you live at northerly latitudes, the waning moon tonight will rise sooner than you expect. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, it’ll rise later.
For the Northern Hemisphere: It’s Hunter’s Moon time. That means there’s a shorter-than-usual time between successive moonrises for the next few nights. The moon will rise close to the time of sunset or dusk for a few evenings after full moon, and it’ll appear entirely or nearly full on each of those nights.
For the Southern Hemisphere: Your Harvest and Hunter’s Moons come around the March equinox, and, a month later, in April. For you, there’s an especially long time between successive moonrises on these spring evenings, around the time of full moon.
Normally, it’s difficult to know when the Hunter’s Moon – or any moon – turns precisely full, just by looking at it. Each month, the moon appears full to the eye for several nights in a row. The full moon actually falls on October 16 at 0423 UTC; translate to your time zone here. For North American time zones, the moon turns precisely full on October 16 at 12:23 a.m. EDT, or on October 15 to the west of the Eastern Time zone, at 11:24 p.m. CDT, 10:24 p.m. MDT and 9:24 p.m. PDT.
So the exact time of full moon might have passed, by the time you read this post.
So … have you missed this month’s full moon? Not at all. No matter where you live on Earth, look for a bright full-looking moon to rise in the east at dusk or early evening on October 16.
Hunter’s Moon collage – top of post – is by our friend Kausor Khan in India.
The Hunter’s Moon is the full moon immediately following the Harvest Moon – closest full moon to the autumnal equinox. These moons are celebrated for ushering the year’s grandest procession of moonlit nights. On the average, the moon rises 50 minutes later every night. But, at mid-northern latitudes, the Hunter’s Moon rises about 35 to 40 minutes later for several evenings in a row around now.
And at far northern latitudes, the Hunter’s Moon rises around 15 to 20 minutes later for several evenings in succession.
If you note where the moon rises on your eastern horizon, you’ll see it rising farther north (to the left) of where it rose on October 15. That’s the case whether you live in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. A moon that rises farther north of where it did the day before will rise sooner than the average (50 minutes later) at northerly latitudes, but will rise later than average at temperate latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere.
So watch the moon rise in the deepening dusk on October 16. This pumpkin-colored orb will dazzle you, if your sky is clear. It’ll be even better if you treat yourself to a lovely setting to watch the moonrise.
Bottom line: The Harvest and Hunter’s Moons faithfully provide a few to several nights of dusk-until-dawn moonlight. They help make up for autumn’s waning daylight. This bonanza of moonlight remains the legacy of autumn full moons!