The Corn Moon, as September’s Full Moon is known, rose in the early hours of this morning and will continue appear to full tonight. However, stargazers will be treated to another showing as Mars will also be visible.
Just as the Corn Moon falls off its peak on September 4, Mars will appear as if it is almost next to our lunar satellite.
On September 5, the Moon will actually pass in front of the Red Planet, in what is called an occult.
Mars will only be hidden to those who have the perspective from South America and southern Europe, so for the rest of us Mars will still appear next to the Moon.
Earth Sky said: “This month the Moon actually occults – goes directly in front of – Mars as seen from much of South America on the night of September 5 to 6, 2020.
“From North America, we’ll see the Moon swing south of (or below) Mars; and from southern South America, folks will see the Moon passing to the north of (and also below) Mars.”
Mars is set to get even brighter in the sky as Earth and the Red Planet prepare for their closest approach for the next 15 years.
While astronomers will use the word “close” to describe the distance between the planets, the approach also illustrates just how vast space is.
On October 6, Mars will be ‘just’ 38.57 million miles (62.07 million km) away from us – the closest it will be until 2035.
To further highlight how crazy the solar system is, by the time you finish this sentence, you will be 40 kilometres closer to Mars, according to Space Weather.
The gap between our two planets is shrinking by about eight kilometres per second.
September’s Full Moon, the Corn Moon, gets its name as it is the time of the year when crops are harvested.
The Corn Moon is also the closest Moon to the autumnal equinox.
Another reason the Full Corn Moon is perfect for harvesting is because it tends to rise slightly later on in the night.
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Theoretically, this means farmers can work later and yield more crops.
The Farmer’s Almanac said: “This full Moon name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested.
“Usually the Full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the US, and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe.
“Most often, the September Full Moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the fall equinox.
“Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice the chief Indian staples are now ready for gathering.”
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