The fall equinox is coming, otherwise known as the first day of autumn.
With that comes a big beautiful full moon. The full moon that comes at this time of year is referred to as the “Harvest Moon.” Primarily because it gives farmers extra evenings of moonlight to finish their harvests before frost arrives.
For the rest of us, it’s a time to gaze at the night sky before sunset and take in the beauty of the full harvest moon.
Full Harvest Moon Peak Illumination
This year the fall equinox is expected to fall on September 10. This means that the full Harvest Moon is expected to rise after sunset on Friday, September 9. Slightly before the first day of fall. Interesting fact, this full moon typically falls in September, but every three years it lands in October.
The full moon is expected to reach its full illumination peak at 2:58 A.M. on Saturday the 10th, drifting below the horizon shortly thereafter.
What’s Special About The Full Harvest Moon
In addition to harvest, this full moon is also special astronomically because the time between each moonrise becomes shorter. The moon rises on average 50 minutes later each day in a lunar month. On the days around a Harvest Moon, it rises less than 50 minutes later than the day before. Making each moon rise shorter than the last.
Also because it is closer to the horizon, the moon appears bigger and orange in colour.
This moon cycle is celebrated coincides with many cultural events such as the Moon Festival in Chinese culture. A day usually celebrated with families getting together for a large meal, finished off with moon cakes.
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