September’s full Harvest Moon peaks Monday night, but the show will be best in the West

It’s the first full moon of fall.

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Right on the heels of Saturday’s autumnal equinox, Monday’s full moon is the first of fall across the Northern Hemisphere. Frequently called the Harvest Moon, September’s full moon tends to coincide with the harvest as the warm breezes of summer begin to turn direction and the frozen winds of winter approach.

While the moon will be quite bright at 97 percent illumination or beyondthrough Wednesday, according to space.com, this year’s Harvest Moon will be full at 10:52 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, in Washington and across the East Coast of the United States.

The way the September moon orbits Earth “keeps the bright, gorgeous lunar orb seemingly pinned to the twilight sky for several nights in a row,”according to Sky and Telescope. The gap between each day’s moonrise is at or near its shortest length of the year.

This means more bright light on consecutive evenings for anyone out and about. It is also a great time to lazily gaze at the sky, assuming sky conditions cooperate.

West of the High Plains, it is a different story. Scattered cloudiness may be of minor concern, but it is more clear than not as you head toward the West Coast.

Per timeanddate.com, Monday’s sunset in Washington is at 7:01 p.m., and moon rise is at 7:13 p.m, although there may not be much to see.

Given the proximity of sunset and moon rise in Washington and other locations in the region, the moon will climb into Monday evening’s sky during “blue hour,” which is a favorite time for photography, thanks to the pleasing light and contrast that tend to come in the period between sunset and dusk.

Capital Weather Gang Photographer Kevin Ambrose has in the past also brilliantly shown how the Harvest Moon lines up with monuments on the Mall.

This Earth-sky alignment can also set the stage for great photo opportunities during Tuesday morning’s sunrise and moon set, which are also quite close to one another, coming at 6:58 a.m. and 7:16 a.m., respectively. But once again, clouds may be a problem.

Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning may present opportunities to at least catch peeks of the moon. On Tuesday, sunset and moonrise are at 7:00 p.m. and 7:42 p.m. On Wednesday morning, sunrise and moonset are at 6:59 a.m. and 8:17 a.m.

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