The full moon known as this year's Harvest Moon will rise tonight (Sept.16) and will be shaded by a subtle type of lunar eclipse for some skywatchers in Africa, Asia and Australia.
The Harvest Moon (as with all full moons) officially turns full when it reaches the spot in the sky opposite to (180 degrees from) the sun. In 2016, the Harvest Moon's moment will occur tonight at 3:05 p.m. EDT (12:05 p.m. PDT).
A minor penumbral lunar eclipse will accompany the full moon tonight, and will be visible from Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Western Pacific. The Slooh Community Observatory will offer a live webcast of the eclipse at Slooh.com beginning at 12:45 p.m. EDT (1645 GMT). You can also watch the lunar eclipse webcast on Space.com, courtesy of Slooh. [Harvest Moon Lunar Eclipse Guide: When & How to See It]
The Harvest Moon is the one that comes the closest to the autumnal equinox, so this year it falls in September, although occasionally this title can be bestowed upon the October full moon. That will happen 12 times from 1970 to 2020, occurring next in 2017. The 2016 version of the Harvest Moon comes six days prior to the autumnal equinox, although it can occur as early as Sept. 8 (as it did in 2014) or as late as Oct. 7 (as happened in 1987).