Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Somali Pirates: Harvest Moon?

Over on the right side of this blog I have both a moon status box and a couple of "winds off Somalia" boxes.

You might note that the moon is currently waxing gibbous and that the winds are down in the Gulf of Aden. What is approaching, in fact, is the "harvest moon" - when around October 4, moonrise of a full moon occurs as the sun sets, giving a lengthy period of reasonable lighting for activities that might otherwise have to be stopped on account of darkness.

What is a "harvest moon?" From here:
Here is the celebrity of the hour – perhaps the biggest of the entire autumn season – the legendary Harvest Moon. The moon reaches the crest of its full phase at 06:10 Universal Time on October 4. That is 1:10 a.m. tomorrow morning in the central U.S.

All of us around the globe find tonight’s moon in the same approximate place as every full moon – in the east as the sun sets and twilight begins to wash the sky. It’s this big red Harvest Moon – ascending over the eastern horizon around the time of sunset – that everyone writes songs about. You’ll see why if your sky is clear and you have a lovely setting for moonrise tonight.

Like any full moon, the Harvest Moon shines all night long. So what’s special about the Harvest Moon? On the average, the moon rises 50 minutes later every night. But not the Harvest Moon! At mid-northern latitudes, the Harvest Moon rises 25 to 30 minutes later for several evenings in a row. And at far northern latitudes, the Harvest Moon rises 5 to 10 minutes later for several evenings in a row.

In olden times before electricity, farmers counted on the lamp of the Harvest Moon to gather their crops. Making up for the autumn season’s waning daylight, the Harvest Moon faithfully provides several nights of dusk-till-dawn moonlight. This bonanza of moonlight remains the legacy of the Harvest Moon!
Yes, it's "harvest moon" time - and a time to be wary of pirates, too.

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