Moonlight glows bright tonight
Grab your mooncakes and candy, pack a blanket and head toward the top of your building with your family and friends tonight because you're in for a visual treat: the rising of the season's roundest and brightest moon.
Experts with the National Astronomical Observatories affiliated with Chinese Academy of Sciences suggest tonight is the night for the public to experience this astronomical phenomenon known to Chinese. It falls on the traditional holiday -- the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The festival, which takes place on the 15th of the 8th month on the lunar calendar (ranging from the end of August through September), is always said to have the most beautiful moon.
But the fact is that things don't always work out that way. As the old Chinese saying goes, the moon is usually at its brightest and fullest on the day following the Mid-Autumn Festival.
"For this year, the Mid-Autumn Festival has the brightest and fullest moon, which is quite rare," Li Jing, 76, a senior researcher with the observatory, told the Xinhua news agency.
According to Li, the phenomenon occurs because of the lineup of the sun, earth and moon.
The earth is in the middle of the three and the moon stands exactly over the earth's equator.
"For residents in Beijing, the best time to enjoy the moon is at 9:09 pm," said Li. "Yet it varies from time zone to time zone."
For eastern parts of the country, the best time to appreciate the moon may be a little bit earlier, while for Urumqi, capital of northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the best time to embrace the full moon is at about 11 pm Beijing time.
"No matter where you are, every one in China will not miss the blessings from the brightest and fullest moon, which is shining tonight," he added.
The alignment of the moon experienced Tuesday won't occur again for another nine years, the Beijing Morning Post said.
It is said many people may tend to think tonight's moon appears larger than those at other times of the year, however, that is not true.
Its seemingly huge size is the result of the closer distance between the moon and earth at this time than other times of the year.