The Harvest Moon is the full Moon nearest the start of fall or the, autumnal equinox. This can occur anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the equinox, although it usually happens in September. This year, the Harvest Moon will rise on September 24.
In late summer and early fall, farmers begin gathering or “harvesting” their crops. And as the days grow shorter, farmers must rely on the light of the moon while working in the fields.
The Harvest Moon isn’t like the other Moons. Usually, throughout the year, the Moon rises an average of about 50 minutes later each day. But near the autumnal equinox, the difference is only 30 minutes. This provides much needed light to farmers harvesting their crops, which is why it is called, “Harvest Moon.”
Additionally, the Full Harvest Moon rises at sunset and then will rise very near sunset for several nights in a row because the difference is at a yearly minimum. It may almost seem as if there are full Moons multiple nights in a row!
- The last time the Harvest Moon perfectly coincided with the autumnal equinox was in 2010 and this won't happen again until 2029
- On the first day of fall, daylight and darkness are of equal length
- Low-hanging moons at sunset are reddened by clouds and dust, giving them that surreal “giant floating pumpkin” effect that so perfectly ushers in the fall.