The Harvest Moon rises tonight, accompanied by brightly shining planets Venus and Jupiter. The last full moon before this year's autumnal equinox, the Harvest Moon will be visible during night hours, weather permits, until the early hours of Wednesday.
On the U.S. East Coast, the Harvest Moon will emerge just above the eastern horizon at 7:13 p.m. EDT on the evening of Monday (Sept. 20). It will properly reach its full phase about 40 minutes later, at 7:55 p.m. EDT.
The moon will appear full on Monday for observers located westward from the western coast of Africa all the way to the International Date Line (a boundary stretching from the North Pole to the South Pole across the Pacific Ocean where each calendar day starts). Observers based in Europe, Asia, Australia and most of Africa will see the full moon on Tuesday (Sept. 21).
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The Harvest Moon, which got its name as it coincides with the harvest season in Europe and North America, will rise in the constellation of Pisces, according to NASA, just two days after passing Jupiter and four days before making a close approach to Uranus.
Venus, the brightest planet visible as the moon appears, will be located 7 degrees above the horizon in the west-southwest. The next brightest planet, Jupiter, will appear 24 degrees above the horizon in the southeast. The faintest of the visible planets in the sky will be Saturn, appearing 27 degrees above the horizon in the south-southeast. Keen skywatchers may be able to briefly spot Mercury about 30 minutes after sunset before it disappears below the west-southwest horizon.
The Harvest Moon also marks a rapid shortening of the day in the Northern Hemisphere. While on Tuesday (Sept. 22), the day of the autumnal equinox, morning twilight begins at 5:58 a.m. and the sun rises at 6:56 a.m., by the time of the next full moon on Oct. 20, morning twilight will begin at 6:25 a.m. and the sun will rise at 7:23 a.m.
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