TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The tenth full moon of 2019 will rise just after sunset on Sunday.
This October full moon is considered the Hunter’s Moon. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the “Hunter’s Moon” is the full moon after the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the first day of fall.
It is said that because farmers had recently cleared out the land on the Harvest Moon, the bare fields allowed for hunters to see the deer and other game under the full moon’s light without obstruction. Hence, the “Hunter’s Moon”.
Some say this full moon appears orange and bigger than other full moons. This, however, is just a matter of timing along with an optical illusion.
The color stems from position and timing in the sky. The Hunter’s Moon rises closes to sunset.
At dusk, when the full moon is just rising over the horizon, the light from the moon travels through a considerable more amount of atmosphere to get to your eye. This is compared to when the moon is overhead; the distance to the edge of the atmosphere is much shorter when looking straight up.
The distance matters because the earth’s atmosphere is efficient at scattering blue light. The greater thickness of atmosphere the light travels through to get to your eye, the more blue light is scattered out, leaving reds and oranges to pass through. This leaves the moon appearing more orange while near the horizon while losing color as it rises into the sky.
The moon also appears larger near the horizon because our eyes are able to compare it to other objects. While the moon is high in the sky, there are no objects to reference. In reality, the moon is the exact same size near the horizon as it is high in the sky.
You can use a roll of paper as a reference. When the moon is near the horizon, roll up a paper while looking through it to match the size of the moon. Tape the tube to keep the size the same. Later on, when the moon has risen higher, look through the tube again. The moon will fill the exact same space as before.