Star gazers are in for a special treat tonight, when the autumnal equinox occurs. At the same time, and for the first time since 1991, fall begins with a full moon, an occurrence called a "Super Harvest Moon." As the sun sets in the west, the moon will rise in the east, mixing their light to create what NASA calls a "360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions." In addition, the moon as it rises may appear larger than normal, due to the poorly understood "moon illusion" that makes it look wider than it does when higher in the sky.
At the exact moment of the autumn equinox, which occurs at 10:09 p.m., the Harvest Moon will be paired with Jupiter, which will be the second brightest object in the sky tonight. Last night, as I drove home, I saw the pair and took this photo:
Late-day showers should fizzle in enough time for most of us to enjoy this celestial sight. As for fall weather - we'll have to wait until Monday. A cold front arriving this weekend should finally put an end to this muggy weather and bring some refreshing mornings and warm, but not humid afternoons.