September’s Totally Eclipsed Super Harvest Moon

Happy September Full Moon!

Welcome to Issue 9 of Volume VII of Earth, Moon and Stars!


      • What’s Cookin’ ~ Full moon Sunday/Monday |  SuperMoon | Total Eclipse
      • Seasonal Calendar ~ Moon dates and times | Eclipse times
      • Celestial Mechanics ~ Eclipses | Blood Moon | SuperMoon | Tetrads
      • Moon Names ~ Harvest Moon | Harvest Moon Effect
      • The Moon in Poesy ~ “Harvest Moon” by Adele Steiner Brown
      • The Moon in Song ~ “Shine on Harvest Moon”
      • Astrology ~ Full Moon in Aries:  Allow the shift| Be bold


  The moon will become exact full Monday September 28 at 02:51 UT (Universal Time); correspondingly earlier in time zones west of the Prime Meridian, later in time zones to the east. (See this past December’s Seasonal Calendar for clarification about Universal Time.)

   Because fullness at the Prime Meridian will occur this time in the wee hours of Monday, people most places on the globe will see closest to a full moon on Sunday night. Folks in the far east (Hanoi, Perth and places east to the International Date line) are on the cusp and will see about equal fullness Sunday and Monday nights. Check Seasonal Calendar below for exact times in some representative time zones.

   As most people are aware by now, this full moon will undergo a total eclipse – visible in most of North America, South America, Europe, West Asia and parts of Africa. It will also be the super-est super moon of 2015.

  In the music and poetry section, we’ve got a Harvest Moon poem by Adele Steiner Brown, and we’re staying in the nostalgia vein with the obvious music choice this month: “Shine on Harvest Moon“.

  And finally, our favorite astrologers, Molly and Emily, tell us what to watch out for and embrace at this fully eclipsed moon.

Harvest Moon (photo “Mischief” by Linda Plaisted)

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September’s full moon:   Monday September 28 02:51 UT; 5:51 am IDT; 10:51 am AWST/PHT
.                                            Sunday September 27 4:51 pm HAST; 7:51 pm PDT; 10:51 pm EDT
Total lunar eclipse:          September 27-28 [see Celestial Mechanics, below, for eclipse times]
October’s new moon:      Tuesday October 13 00:06 UT; 3:06 am IDT; 8:06 am AWST/PHT
.                                            Monday October 12 2:06 pm HAST; 5:06 pm PDT; 8:06 pm EDT
October’s full moon:        Tuesday October 27 12:05 UT; 2:05 pm IDT; 8:05 pm AWST/PHT
.                                            Tuesday October 27 2:05 am HAST; 5:05 am PDT; 8:05 am EDT
[ref: Moon Phases]

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Lunar Eclipse

   As just about everyone has heard by now, the full moon this Sunday will go into total eclipse as it approaches maximum fullness. As you can see on this map —

Sep 27-28 total lunar eclipse path (TimeandDate)

Sep 27-28 total lunar eclipse path (TimeandDate)

— the eclipse will be visible from North America, South America, Europe, West Asia and parts of Africa. The areas in the middle (dark colors) will see the entire show. The show will have already started when the Moon rises over the light colored areas on the west edge, but they will at least get to see part of it. Those in the light colored areas on the east edge will see the beginning of the show, but the Moon will set for them before it finishes. (There won’t be another total lunar eclipse visible from North America until 2019.)

   You may recall that the total phase of the eclipse this past April was very short: a tad less than five minutes. This time we’re back to typical times, this total phase lasting over an hour. Here is a table of eclipse timing in various representative cities in the areas on Earth that will be facing the Moon during the eclipse.   [Note: The below table as originally published had a number of incorrect times. It has now been corrected.] 

Eclipse Times (select cities)

   To see timing and a diagram of what the eclipse will look like where you are – click here.

Lunar Eclipse Indianapolis

Lunar Eclipse Indianapolis (timeanddate)

Blood Moon

  A lot of hay has been made giving meaning to the rusty red color Ms. Luna takes on during a total eclipse.

Lunar Eclipse Timelapse (NASM)

   But the mechanical explanation is fairly simple: while the Earth is large enough to block all direct sunlight from reaching the surface of the Moon during a total eclipse, some sunlight finds its way through our thin layer of atmosphere, which has both a filter and lens effect on this light.

   The blue light in these rays ends up being scattered by our atmosphere (thus the blue sky we see), and so only the remaining reds make it through. These red rays are then bent (lens effect), some hitting the surface of the Moon. Some of these red rays are absorbed by material on the Moon’s surface; those that aren’t are reflected back in our direction, producing the rusty red moon we see while she is in our shadow.

Blood moon diagram (NASM)

Blood moon diagram (NASM)

Super-est Moon of 2015

 You may recall that last month’s full moon was a super moon. This one will be, too. While just celestial coincidence, it turns out this time the Moon will reach perigee within just an hour of maximum fullness, making this the super-est full moon of 2015. (For lots more fun facts and a cool photo, see the EarthSky article “Sunday’s supermoon is closest of 2015”.)

   Thus – if you’re watching and lucky enough to be on the dark side of Earth and have clear skies when our shadow passes over Ms. Luna – what you will see will be the brightest full moon of 2015 slowly go dark and turn a dim rusty red.

   This combination of a total eclipse of a super moon is rare enough – it occurred only five times during the twentieth century. This will be the first of the twenty-first century, with the next happening 18 years from now in 2033. (This 18-year cycle is not random; we will explore this in more detail in our 2016 series on Moon orbital mechanics.)

Eclipse Tetrads

   In most parts of the Moon’s eclipse cycle, partial eclipses occur in between total eclipses. But occasionally four total lunar eclipses occur with no partial between them; this is referred to as a “tetrad”.

   This coming full moon will be the fourth in the current tetrad – the second one in this century, which will have a total of eight – with the next tetrad not occurring until 2032. Interestingly, there were no tetrads from 1582 to 1908.

   We will explore the mechanics behind this phenomenon next year when we look at more details of Moon orbital mechanics. If you can’t wait, take a look at “Lunar Eclipse Tetrads” on NASA’s Eclipse website.

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September’s Harvest Moon

    As you know (especially if you’ve been following this blog), many cultures around the world kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon, appropriate for the month in which it occurred, and keyed – naturally enough – to the goings-on in their natural environment . . . the weather, the plants, the animals.

    Even though we’ve taken a look at the Harvest Moon in previous years, it’s a big enough topic to make it worthwhile looking at again.

Harvest Moon over wheat field (TimeandDate)

   As we noted two years ago in our September 2013 issue, the “Harvest Moon” is the name given to the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. In contrast to most moon names, this name actually refers to a real astronomical phenomenon.

Harvest Moon Effect

   Years ago farmers noted that around the time of the autumnal equinox, the lag between moonrise times on successive nights was smaller by a significant number of minutes than during the rest of the year: only about 30 to 35 minutes rather than the usual 50. This meant – and still means – that on these nights there is no significant dark time between sunset and moonrise, thus giving farmers continuous light to work their harvest by for many days around the time of the Harvest Moon. (Interestingly, this same phenomenon occurs in the Southern Hemisphere near their autumnal equinox in March.)

   You can read lots more about this “Harvest Moon Effect” at EarthSky’s Everything you need to know: Super Harvest Moon of 2015 and at NASA’s page “Watch Out for the Harvest Moon“.

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I turn slowly, darkly
longing for light
to warm my face
with its old memories.
They are the fallen leaves,
that lie in wait
for a breeze
to uncover their burnished undersides,
their amber,
holding on tight
to dreams of flying,
back to the top.

by Adele Steiner Brown (found at BAP Quarterly)

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  Succumbing to the obvious, this issue we’re showcasing the most famous Harvest Moon song (in English, at least): “Shine On, Harvest Moon”, debuted in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908 to great acclaim. It became a pop standard, and continues to be performed and recorded even in the 21st century. Actual authorship is not clear and is a bit confusing. As the Wikipedia article Shine On, Harvest Moon explains, songs written during the vaudeville era were often sold outright, with the purchaser being credited as the songwriter. Thus this song is “credited” to the married vaudeville team Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth, having purchased it from the actual writer(s) who were either Edward Madden and Gus Edwards, or Dave Stamper. Click on the links below to hear some popular versions available on YouTube. (refs: songbook1Wikipedia)

Shine On, Harvest Moon 1908

Shine On, Harvest Moon (1908)
(see discussion above for writers)

(here is a version sung by Ruth Etting)
(here is a version sung by Leon Redbone)

The night was mighty dark so you could hardly see,
For the moon refused to shine.
Couple sitting underneath a willow tree,
For love they did pine.
Little maid was kind-a ‘fraid of darkness, so
She said, “I guess I’ll go.”
Boy began to sigh, looked up at the sky,
And told the moon his little tale of woe.

Oh, Shine on, shine on harvest moon, up in the sky;
I ain’t had no lovin’ since January, February, June or July.
Snow time ain’t no time to stay outdoors and spoon,
So shine on, shine on harvest moon, for me and my gal.

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   Unlike the Earth – which takes 365+ days to make a complete circuit through the Zodiac – the Moon takes just a month to make her rounds. This means she spends on average only two and a half days in each zodiac sign. The Moon is currently in Pisces; she will move into Aries on Sunday and remain there while she is full. She will move into Taurus on Tuesday.

Emily Trinkaus ~ 

Aries Full Eclipsed Moon ~ Slow Down 

   Head priestess at Virgo Magic, Emily is based in Portland, OR, and works with astrology as a tool for healing, empowerment, personal growth and collective evolution. In addition, she and energy healer Katie Todd run the Full Moon Priestess website where they conduct monthly Full Moon Galactivation teleclasses for women.

Aries the Ram

    The full title of Emily’s post for this super-charged full moon is Slow Down, Surrender and Allow the Shift.  She advises to be on the lookout for strong feelings – such as pressure, intensity, frustration, disorientation and discomfort – and that this full moon will be bringing events to culmination or closure, and shining the light on what’s been hidden in the depths of the subconscious.

   She emphasizes that an eclipse such as this signifies a resetting of consciousness — a process that requires some degree of surrender and a hell of a lot of TRUST. In the dark, we have to rely on how we feel rather than what we see, on our inner guidance rather than having something tangible to hold onto “out there.” With the Eclipse in the sign of the Ram, we’re feeling into the essential Aries questions: Who am I? and What do I want?

   Again I’m outta room, and she’s just getting warmed up. So much more — and we haven’t even gotten to the “slow down” part. Clearly this means you’re just gonna hafta visit her page Slow Down, Surrender and Allow the Shift to squeeze all the juice.

Molly Hall ~  

Aries Full Moon ~ The Wonder of Electric Fire

   Molly Hall is chief astrologer at, and has loaded both barrels in her article for this full moon: Aries Lunar Eclipse on her astrology site. Here is a brief distillation from her extensive column for this full moon and eclipse:

  At this juncture, Molly warns us that Aries is the sign of outbursts, forceful acts, fresh starts and strength of will. She says this is a high spirited fiery Full Moon peak that’s amped up by the eclipse factor, which often aligns with momentous changes and new beginnings.

   She goes on to say: With Aries, there is a surge of life force that inspires each of us to be brave, however that looks for you right now. It’s a call to action, while also burning away the dead wood, confusion, and those forces that manipulate you to act against your will or best interests.   And she quotes John Keats:

“There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify – so that among these human creatures there is continually some birth of new heroism. The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish.”

   She says this Full Moon illuminates:

  • your courage to act on the strength of your convictions
  • the catharsis of being true to yourself
  • the rewards of going beyond your comfort zone
    (. . . and five more just as enticing )

It’s a Good Time to:

  • take action, even if you’re full of fear
  • act on strong intuitive hunches
  • face a threat directly
  • take a bold step toward what you really, really want
    (. . . and seven more just as exciting)

   Finally, Molly leaves us with: This Full Moon riles up your confidence that you can meet the moment, as an amazing adventure to discover the dimensions of who you really are.

   Even with all this, the above is just a sampling. As per usual, I can’t do her offering justice without including it in its entirety, so if any of the above calls to you, I heartily recommend that you surf over to her page Aries Lunar Eclipse for the full hit. You can also look up what this full moon eclipse portends for your specific birth sign at her offering When an Eclipse Zaps the Houses – Your House Forecast.

Full Moon in Aries ~ (StarGate 7)

   In addition to her insights around this full moon, Molly offers the following helpful articles:

 Also visit Molly’s front page for lots more interesting astrology.

Aries full moon symbol

My Personal Take on Astrology

  Some folks have wondered why I have an astrology section in a blog that purports to be “science” oriented. I suppose I could cite ancient cultures in which astronomy and astrology were the domain of the same person. And that a broader way of understanding the aim of science is to expand knowledge (the word science being derived from the Latin word  scīre “to know”). My own sense is that while we humans live in a material world that runs by certain rules of physics, we each experience our lives in this world subjectively. It’s what makes us similar and at the same time unique.
   How much do celestial bodies influence our lives? Certainly the Sun and the Moon have noticeable gravitational effects on water and even rocks. Electromagnetic and particle radiation from the Sun has both obvious and subtle effects on just about everything on this planet. Even moonlight affects plants and animals.  I do not claim to know if or how much these and other celestial bodies affect us directly, but I like the wisdom, warmth and humanness that Molly and Emily express in their writing, and believe that including them not only expands my potential audience, but also exposes folks to ways of thinking about their own lives that they might not have otherwise considered. Let me know your take on this. I won’t make your comment public if you ask me not to.

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   If you especially like (or dislike) something you see here, or would like to see something in particular covered in a future issue, or you have something interesting about the Earth, Moon, or Stars you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment. I’m always interested in how folks who stop by here are moved/influenced/affected by what they encounter here. 

   Until the full moon in October, here’s wishing all of us a month of trusting and acting!

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    A few detail-oriented folks have inquired about my use (or mis-use) of Initial Caps in words like earth, moon, and sun. In the long run, it doesn’t affect understanding; Whether I write ”the President” or “the president”, you still know who I’m referring to. I write “the Northern Hemisphere”, just as you would (correctly) write “the West Coast”; it’s a proper name, and in English we capitalize proper names.

    When it comes to suns and moons it can get confusing. There are billions of suns out there; we have given names to more than 40 million of them, ranging from names given in other languages (e.g., Aldebaran), to less fanciful but more utilitarian names, such as HD 140913. The International Astronomical Union (IAU) has decreed that our sun is the only one without such a proper name, although historically and in poesy it’s been called by quite a few.

    Similarly for our moon. We’ve christened all of the other 182 moons in our solar system with names – ours is the only one we call the Moon.

    Since we capitalize the names of all the other heavenly bodies (even asteroids and comets, for pity’s sake), I feel we ought to show at least as much respect for the ones most important to us. The IAU agrees.

    So does Wikipedia. Their Manual of Style says: “The words sun, earth, moon and solar system are capitalized (as proper names) when used in an astronomical context to refer to a specific celestial body (our Sun, Earth, Moon and Solar System): The Sun is the star at the center of the Solar System; The Moon orbits the Earth. They are not capitalized when used outside an astronomical context (The sky was clear and the sun felt warm), or when used in a general sense (Io is a moon of Jupiter).”

    Sometimes it’s a fine line. If I write “by the light of the silvery moon”, I won’t capitalize it, because I’m referring to an image of the celestial body, not the body itself. By contrast, if I write, “the light from the Sun reflects off the surface of the Moon,” I capitalize both, because I’m referring directly to the celestial bodies.

    If you inspect the archives of this blog, you will likely see many instances where I departed from this rule. We’ll call these oversights, and eventually I will correct them. Meanwhile, it’s an interesting challenge just to follow it in new writings. Are we having fun, yet?

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   The Earth, Moon and Stars blog is published once each Full Moon with (hopefully interesting) facts and lore about our moon and other sky phenomena. My wish is that you will have fun learning a bit more about our one and only natural satellite and how all of us — people, animals, plants, water, even rocks — are affected and connected by her.

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Unless otherwise noted, this blog claims no credit for any images appearing on it. Copyrighted images remain the property of their respective owners; attribution and/or links are provided when known. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and you do not wish for it to appear here, please leave a comment with your email address and a link to the image in question and it will be promptly removed. Your comment will not be made public.


About aquarianman

Aquarian interested in anything to do with the Earth, our Moon, and anything flying around out there in space.
This entry was posted in Astrology, astronomy, Constellations, moon and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to September’s Totally Eclipsed Super Harvest Moon

  1. Belle says:

    GREAT post! Thanks! Because of this post I plan on “moonbathing” outside my home in North County San Diego on Sunday evening!

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