NORTHERN HEMISPHERE – The Harvest Moon, which refers to the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (September 22nd) each year, will rise on the nights of Thursday, Oct. 1 and Friday, Oct. 2.
While this name is mainly used to distinguish when the full moon occurs, the Harvest Moon does have some unique characteristics: for a few days before and after, the moon will continue to appear full when rising over the horizon, and it will also seem to rise slightly earlier than usual, right around sunset.
For anyone trying to catch the moon during some night sky-watching, this year’s Harvest Moon will be right next to the red planet Mars, making for an exciting and colorful view.
The moon is precisely full at 2:05 p.m. PST on Thursday and should be clear and bright for both nights.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the proximity in time between sunset and moonrise creates an abundance of light under which to gather the fruits, vegetables and grains of the season, making sense of the moon’s moniker. Sunset on Thursday comes at 6:41 p.m. and the Harvest Moon rises at 4:22 p.m.
This moon precedes our Blue Moon — the second moon of the month — on Oct. 31, coinciding with Halloween. Prepare to howl.
For more information on the Harvest Moon visit Earthsky.org or the Farmer’s Almanac.