Everything You Need To Know About Tonight's Rare Harvest Moon Eclipse

Photo: Andrew Sharpe/REX/Shutterstock.
It's time once again to turn our heads up to the sky. This month's full moon rises on Friday, and it promises to be a good one.

Like summer's stunning Strawberry Moon, so named because of its proximity to strawberry harvesting season, this Friday's Harvest Moon is named for its autumnal significance. This full moon is the closest to the autumnal equinox, the official start of fall, and, because it rises earlier at night, provides extra light to farmers.

According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the Harvest Moon differs from all other moons. Instead of rising about 50 minutes later each day, this moon rises only 30 minutes later. EarthSky reports that because the Harvest Moon initially rises closer to twilight, you may see what looks like multiple full moons in the sky.

This year's Harvest Moon is especially significant because its timing coincides with the final lunar eclipse of 2016, which is a penumbral, or partial, eclipse. That means that the moon may appear slightly darker than usual, as Earth's shadow is cast upon its surface. National Geographic says that there won't be another Harvest Moon eclipse until 2024.

While the clearest views will take place in other parts of the world, you can still catch a global livestream of the spectacle here, beginning at 12:45 p.m. Friday. And even though you can't catch the eclipse from skies over North America, you can still check out the full moon — and toast the official beginning of pumpkin-everything season.

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