Look up in the sky Friday night and you might get a glimpse of 2016’s harvest moon.
The once-a-year occurrence is the closest full moon to the fall equinox – which is next Thursday.
According to Space.com, the harvest moon is different from other full moons because it happens during the harvest season, and it rises as the sun sets.
Usually, the moon rises about 50 minutes later from day to day. During the harvest moon, CNET says it only rises 30 minutes later, meaning more nights with more moonlight.
So if you miss the harvest moon Friday because of cloudy skies, you might be able to get a glimpse of the moon this weekend. Scientists say it should still appear almost completely full.
Maybe a supermoon?
Friday’s harvest moon might also end up being a supermoon.
According to EarthSky, Astrologer Richard Nolle came up with the term, which is defined as “a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit.”
And according to the source, Nolle and another astronomers disagree on whether this harvest moon is also a supermoon.
There’s a lot to the argument but here’s what it all boils down to:
Based on how close the moon will get to the Earth this year, Nolle says this doesn’t quality as a supermoon.
Based on how close the moon will get to the Earth in this orbit, Fred Espenak says it is a supermoon.
There will also be a lunar eclipse (on the other side of the world)
In addition to the harvest moon, there will be a lunar eclipse too. We just won’t see it in Minnesota or anywhere else in North America.
It’ll be completely visible in parts of Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
This one is a penumbral eclipse, which is when the moon passes through the outer edge of Earth’s shadow.
Space.com says 93 percent of the moon will be covered by the Earth’s shadow.
The writer adds that you shouldn’t be too upset about missing it because, “It’s really an underwhelming event.”
The next harvest moon eclipse will happen in 2024, National Geographic says.