Watching the Skies: ‘Corn Moon’ this week

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The September full moon will occur early this week and it should be a beautiful sight.

While the moon looks full for two or three days each month, it will officially be full on Sept. 2 at 12:22 a.m. This will be the last full moon of astronomical summer and also the first full moon of meteorological fall. That’s because astronomical summer will end on Sept. 22 this year, but meteorological fall begins Sept. 1.

The full moon in September is often called the Harvest Moon, but it’s a little different this year. The Harvest Moon is the name of the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, which in this case is not the full moon in September. Instead, the full moon on Oct. 1 will be called the Harvest Moon. This year, the September full moon will be known as the Corn Moon, the Fruit Moon or the Barley Moon.

Look to the east to see the moon rising up over the horizon at dusk.

As the moon slowly begins to wane late in the week, you’ll be able to see it pass by the planet Mars. The moon and Mars will rise in the east after sunset. Look for the moon and then locate Mars nearby — it is currently the fifth brightest celestial object in the night sky behind the sun, the moon, Venus and Jupiter. By October, Mars will pass Jupiter in brightness.

The moon will be to the right of Mars during the late evening hours on Sept. 4. By Sept. 5, the moon will be directly below Mars. Finally, on Sept. 6, it will pass down and to the left of the red planet.

Blake Naftel captured this photo of the early morning sky over Kalamazoo Sunday:

Notice Venus shining bright in the east. The constellation Orion is also easily noticeable. If you want to do some early morning sky watching, Venus will be hard to miss in the east before the sun has risen.

To find the constellation Orion, look for the three stars in a straight line. Those stars make up Orion’s Belt. Once you’ve picked those out, the rest of the constellation will become evident.

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