The Time of the Harvest Moon

A harvest moon occurs at a specific time of the year. The moon officially turns full when it reaches the spot opposite to the sun. The harvest moon happens on 13:59 Greenwich time on the Saturday nearest to the fall equinox, which is September 23rd. Once in every three years we get the same full moon in October, but the one in September is called the harvest moon because farmers can continue their harvest late into the night by the light of the full moon. The same moon appears three days in succession, but the one that appears on Saturday is the one that receives this name.

Other names for this moon are the Wine Moon, the Elk Call Moon and the Singing Moon. It received the name of harvest moon because it appears in the Northern Hemisphere at the time of the year that coincides with the harvesting of crops.

It's For The Birds

During a harvest moon there are other advantages for the bird lovers of our planet. This is the perfect time to watch the birds migrate past the light that emits from the moon. Some studies have proven that birds rely on the Harvest moon to migrate from one area to another. They have also proven that the birds wait for this moon to begin their migration.

Gazing Upon a Harvest Moon

The moon during the year rises about 50 minutes later each day, but near autumn equinox the time shortens to 30 minutes. Some years there is an extra treat for moon watchers when they do their gazing between dusk and dawn. Wildfires in North America and dust storms in Africa sometimes fill our air with aerosols. A low hanging harvest moon can give an array of colors that is not usually seen. There is also an added treat to watching a harvest moon. This is called moon illusion because the rising or setting moon looks bigger than when it does high in the sky.