SKY REPORTER: Harvest Moon main content.

SKY REPORTER: Harvest Moon

by Steve Beyer on


The Full Harvest Moon occurs on the night of Thursday September 19. Traditionally this title is given to the Full Moon seen nearest the date of autumn’s beginning.

The Autumnal Equinox occurs 4:44 Eastern Daylight Time on the afternoon of Sunday September 22. Then the center of the Sun’s disk is directly above the equator at a point in the Pacific Ocean located at longitude 133° 09' west. The sub-solar point then is about 2,000 miles southeast of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Comet ISON was recovered in telescopic images around the middle of August, after it emerged from the glare of the Sun. While it has not brightened at the rate that was anticipated early in the year, hopes remain high for it to be of above average visibility when it rounds the Sun Thanksgiving Day. See the NASA's Comet ISON Observing Campaign, which provides a range of ISON information.

Lunar Phases, September 2013
New Moon September 5
First Quarter September 12
Full Moon September 19
Last Quarter September 26




Venus and Saturn are still the only planets easily visible during evening hours. Both appear as twilight fades, with Venus low in the southwest, descending beneath the horizon about an hour after sunset. Saturn doesn’t set until about nine pm at midmonth. Jupiter is visible during most predawn hours. Mars rises about 3 a.m. during the middle of September.

During early evening of Friday September 20th, for about a half hour after the end of twilight, Venus may be seen just four degrees from Saturn, low in the west-southwest.

Early morning hours of Saturday September 28th bring the waning crescent moon five degrees from very bright Jupiter, shining with magnitude -2.22.

On the last morning of September, Mars is 10 degrees of arc to the lower left of a narrow crescent moon. Mars then will have visual magnitude 1.61, still rather faint but its brightness increases as we get closer to the Red Planet’s opposition next year on April 8th.

Planets for September 15th
Mercury Sets 7:42 p.m. Virgo
Venus Sets 8:38 p.m. Virgo
Mars Rises 3:05 a.m. Cancer
Jupiter Rises 1:03 a.m. Gemini
Saturn Rises 9:02 p.m. Libra
Uranus Rises 7:46 p.m. Pisces
Neptune Sets 5:09 a.m. Aquarius