HOUSTON — Friday night's full moon is full of surprises.
Not only is it the famous "harvest" moon, giving early farmers extra evening light to harvest and bring in the fall crops, it's also a "micro" moon.
You might remember that "super" moons occur when the moon is at its closest point to planet earth during its elliptical orbit. Well, a micro moon is just the opposite. The moon will be in "apogee" tonight, at its furthest point away from the earth. That will have it appearing about 14 percent smaller than normal.
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All this happening on Friday the 13th. That's a fairly rare event as well. The last time it happened like this was October 2000, and it won't happen again until August 2049.
The moon will officially be perfectly full at 11:33 p.m. Central time on what promises to be one freaky full moon Friday night!
This year, the Harvest Moon also falls on one of the biggest holidays in many Asian countries. The Mid-Autumn Festival originated in China as a way to celebrate the moon and its deity. It's a day to celebrate the Fall harvest, gather with family and give thanks. A sweet dessert called a mooncake is often served. The wheat flour pastries are filled with sweet seed or fruit pastes with a salted egg yolk in the middle to represent the full moon.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the year, which means it's usually celebrated during September or October's full moon.
The moon will appear full from Thursday night through Sunday morning, according to NASA.
Having a full moon coincide with the supposedly unlucky day in the U.S. is super rare. According to the Farmer's Almanac, there hasn't been a nationwide Friday the 13th full Moon since Oct. 13, 2000, and it won't happen again until Aug. 13, 2049.
But that's not all that's extra special about the 2019 Harvest Moon.
September's full Moon is also being called a "Micro" moon by some because it nearly coincides with the Moon's "apogee," or the point when its farthest from the Earth in its orbit.
You may recall how February's full Moon coincided with the "perigee," when it was closest to the Earth in 2019.
And while the full Moon will appear about 14 percent smaller, the Farmer's Almanac points out that to most it really won't look all that different from a "typical" full Moon size.