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For the first time in 13 years, a full moon will occur today, Friday the 13th

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 apogee, or the farthest point in its roughly four-week orbit. Timeanddate.com estimates a “micromoon” appears 14 per cent smaller and 30 per cent 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 Washington at 7:31 p.m. Friday. Just look to the east about five 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.


A full moon rises behind the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion, near Athens, Greece, August 15, 2019.

Michalis Karagiannis /

REUTERS

If you’re looking for a fun Friday night activity, considering inviting your friends and/or resident canine to howl with you at the lunar disk.

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 12:32 a.m. Eastern time 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 on 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 over 13 years, in May 2033.

And if you’re looking for something really riveting, mark your calendar for 2037. There will be two blue moons in a span of three months – a blue moon defined as the second full moon in a calendar month. They’ll occur on Jan. 31 and March 31, both months that will also feature a full moon on the first of the month. In addition, March 13, 2037, falls on a Friday.

What a time to be alive.

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