By Sue KILPATRICK
“Oh shine on, shine on Harvest Moon
Up in the sky…”
— By the vaudeville team of Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth (1903)
These lyrics reminisce of a romance, in days gone by … beneath a Harvest Moon. Summer has come to an end and autumn arrives to take its place. With one more week of summer to enjoy, our weather seems to agree it is time for a change. Although last weekend the temperatures reached 90 degrees, the evenings cooled considerably. As the week progressed, daytime highs were in the 80s and nighttime in the upper 50s. The first day of fall officially arrives on Sept. 22 at 8:09 a.m. – PST, also referred to as the autumnal equinox. At this time, the Sun’s noon position is directly above the equator, so now at our latitude the solar heat is less intense. It takes the Earth a few more weeks to cool down – lag time. It has been a pleasant summer in the Foothills – cooler than average with only a few short heat waves (no fires) and beautiful evenings.
Only one very minor complaint – the crickets in our yard only began “serious” chirping last week. According to my neighbor who is knowledgeable about bugs, the cooler weather has delayed their mating cycle (that is what all the chirping is about!) this year. So now with our evening sound effects in place, next week’s main attraction will be the Harvest Moon.
The Harvest Moon is the full moon that occurs closest to the date of the autumn equinox. This year the moon will rise at 6:00 p.m. on Sept. 23. With sunset and moonrise almost at the same time, it makes for continuous light. In days before tractor lights, the farmers were able to harvest their crops into the night, due to the moonlit farm fields. As the Moon rises it appears to be particularly big and bright and orange. Both science and illusion create this phenomenon. At sunset, look toward the east – as the Moon ascends you will see this spectacular show of nature.
The harvest weather forecast is favorable. Temperatures will cool slightly over the weekend and into next week. On Sunday the 26 at 4 p.m. in the vineyard at Deukmejian Park the last of this season’s grapes will be harvested and crushed. Call for details and to make sure the grapes are ripe – (818) 249-2414.
Where are Lucy and Ethel when you need them? I’m sure we could use their help!
Sue Kilpatrick is a longtime CV resident and amateur weather watcher. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.