Outside Scoop: Full moon and September constellations
Late September is a good time to bust out the telescope
The September full moon is scheduled for 5:54 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. We know the moons were given names by Native American cultures and communities who used the moons for planting, harvesting, fishing and hunting purposes. The September full moon is nicknamed the “Harvest Moon,” and it’s pretty obvious why this moon has its moniker.
September’s full moon shines bright so that it’s easier to harvest summer crops in the late evening hours with the moonlight. This was extremely helpful as many summer crops ripen all at once and must be harvested, gathered and stored in a very short amount of time. The Harvest Moon is also known to give off a red glow from the clouds and dust in the atmosphere.
What makes a full moon each month? It usually happens but once a month, but we also know full moons can occur two times in a month. A full moon is when the moon, sun and Earth are aligned and the Earth is situated between the two. The full moon is also the midway point in the lunar cycle, which is a 29-day period between the one full moon to the next full moon.
There’s much more to be seen throughout the next couple weeks. Actually, this month is the best time to spot Capricornus, Cygnus, Delphinus, Equuleus, Indus, Microscopium and Vulpecula. Many of these constellations can be seen without use of a telescope, but it does help.
When it comes to planets, there are many exciting moments that will occur before midnight each evening for stargazing families. Mercury and Venus will shine in the western horizon not long after the sun sets. Venus is also the easiest planet to spot this month due to the sheer brightness. Jupiter and Saturn will be sparkling in the southeast skies and Neptune and Uranus will be visible, but might require binoculars or a telescope for the best sightings.