Spectacular Pictures Show a Rare Full ‘Micro Moon’ As it Appears on Friday the 13th for the First Time in 19 Years — and It Won’t Come Again Until 2049

The full Harvest Moon over Tower Bridge, London, and shows off its amber glow over the Thames on the spooky evening of Friday 13

A rare Harvest Moon illuminated the sky last night after it fell on Friday 13 for the first time in 19 years. 

The Harvest Moon is the name given to the full moon that appears around the autumn equinox when farmers do their main crop harvest.  

On average the moon rises 50 minutes later than sunset each day, however when a full moon occurs close to autumn equinox, the moon rises only 30 minutes after the sunset lending to its golden hue.  

And sky watchers were treated to a rare occurrence of a ‘micro moon’ last night as our satellite appeared 14 per cent smaller than an average moon.

This is due to the moon being at its furthest point in its orbit from the Earth, known as apogee, which places it 251,655 miles away. 

Compared to a ‘super moon’, which is at its closest point in its orbit to Earth, a ‘micro moon’ appears 30 per cent dimmer, reaching its optimum brightness at 5.32 this morning. 

Last February the Full Moon coincided with perigee, the closest point to Earth, and was 30,000 miles closer to our planet making it a ‘Super moon’. 

The last time the amber moon appeared on the spooky date of Friday 13 was October 2000 and will not make another appearance until August 2049.

What is a micro moon and why does it look smaller?

A micro moon happens when a full moon coincides with apogee, which is when the moon is at its furthest point in its orbit from the Earth.

The moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical path. This is oval-shaped meaning that one side of the path is closer to the Earth than the other.

The average distance between the Earth and the moon is 237,700 miles, however during some points of the year, the moon appears larger or smaller depending on where the moon is in its elliptical path.

When a full moon occurs around apogee, the point in which the moon is furthest away from Earth, it is called a micro moon.

And because the moon is further away from us on Earth it appears 14 per cent smaller and around 30 per cent dimmer than the average moon.

At the point of a micro moon, our satellite is 251,655 miles away.

However a super moon is seen when a full moon occurs around perigee, which is when it is at its closest point to Earth.

The moon is around 30,000 miles closer to us on Earth and circa 224,000 miles away.

As a result the moon appears 30 per cent brighter and 14 per cent larger, creating a mesmerising lunar disk in the sky.

SOURCE: Daily Mail, Emily Webber