Entries in Fall (3)


Harvest Moon 2011 Brightens September Skies

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- This is the night of the Harvest Moon -- the full moon that happens in September and is often one of the year's prettiest.

If you're in a good place and if the weather is kind to you, the moon will loom large in the eastern sky just as the sun disappears in the west.

We're coming up on the autumnal equinox on Sept. 23, when summer turns to fall and the temperature turns, too. At this time of year, night and day are the same length, which is why the sun and moon, just opposite each other in the sky, make for a nice show.

There's no real magic to all this, just the bodies of the solar system doing what they do as they follow the rules of orbital mechanics. But there is a pleasant effect on us earthlings, if we pause to enjoy the combination.

A brief review of the terms at play here:

Harvest Moon: Native American tribes gave names to each of the dozen full moons of the year, and the list now is maintained by the Farmer's Almanac. The Harvest Moon is the one closest to the beginning of fall. It's time for the crops to come in.

The next full moon -- which happens in October -- is referred to by the almanac as the Beaver Moon, though it's also called the Hunter's Moon or Blood Moon. Time to set your traps if you need furs for the winter.

Equinox: The moment when the sun appears to pass directly over the Earth's equator -- in this case southbound as we move from summer to fall. It happens twice a year; if you like warm weather, you may prefer the vernal equinox next March 20, when winter will give way to spring.

Moon Illusion: This last term is the one that perhaps does have a touch of magic to it. If you go out tonight just after sunset, and are lucky enough to have good weather and a clear view of the horizon, you'll see the moon, pumpkin-colored, slowly rising in the east -- and, boy, does it look large.

It is, in fact, no larger in the sky than when it's overhead, but our minds fool us, perhaps because we have a reference point -- something on the horizon -- that we lack when it is high among the stars.

"For instance," said astronomer Tony Phillips, "when you see the moon in close proximity to a tree, your brain will miscalculate the distance to the moon, mentally bringing it closer (like the tree) and thus making it bigger. It seems so real, but this beautiful illusion is all in our minds."

It's a quiet, pleasant show that the heavens put on tonight. If the weather favors you, you will literally get to see the stars align.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nancy Reagan Slips, Avoids Fall

David Livingston/Getty Images(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) -- Former First Lady Nancy Reagan slipped Tuesday night as she arrived for a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, but a quick reaction from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio kept Reagan on her feet.

Reagan, 90, was walking to her chair, accompanied by the Florida senator, when the cane she was holding in her right hand lost its grip on the floor and she slipped and nearly fell. Rubio grabbed hold of the former first lady’s left arm and, with the assistance of others, kept her from hitting the ground.


ABC News Los Angeles affiliate KABC-TV reports that Reagan did not require medical attention.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teenage Girl Recovering After Fall from Golden Gate Bridge

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- A teenage girl who plummeted from the Golden Gate Bridge was recuperating in a hospital Monday, making her the second teenager to survive a fall from the San Francisco landmark.

Witnesses reported seeing the 16-year-old girl, who has not been publicly identified, go over the side of the bridge at 10:56 a.m. Sunday.  The Coast Guard was able to recover the young woman, who was responsive.

"The girl was conscious when she was pulled from the water," Coast Guard spokeswoman Laura Williams told ABC News.

The Coast Guard rushed the girl to shore, where the San Francisco Fire Department took her to Marin General Hospital.

It has not been determined if she fell or jumped off of the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge has been a notorious place for suicides since it was built in 1937.  Very few survive the 220-foot fall to the middle of the span or the frigid, fast-moving water below.  A fall from the bridge is the equivalent of a four-second, 25-story fall.  The average human body hits the water at 75 miles per hour, generally resulting in fatal injuries.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio