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What is the Harvest Moon?

5 Oct 2017, 4:55 pm

Aside from marking Oktoberfest.

What is the Harvest Moon?

Simply put, the harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox. Typically this happens with the full moon in September, but this year is a little different.

This year the Harvest Moon falls on October 5th.

But why the Silly Name?

If you are thinking the name comes from the time of year, you are right. But that’s only part of a much bigger story.

The Harvest Moon gets its name from rising soon after sunset giving farmers additional time to harvest their crops. Makes sense in terms of naming the moon, but there is something that makes this particular full moon even more special.

The moon rises at a different time each night. In fact, the “normal” trend is roughly 50 minutes later than the day before. This greatly changes the amount of light a typical moon casts on the ground below each night.
Because of the changing cycles of the moon, the moon-rises are much closer together during the autumnal equinox. The average change in moonrise drops to a mere 30 minutes! (Less time if you live farther north)

This means that not only do farmers have the full moon for harvest, they actually have more light for more days!

Want to Learn More?

Here’s a little something on how the Harvest Moon plays into the exceptionally high tides.

The King Tide Makes Its Royal Unwelcome Back To Our Beaches


For WeatherNation — Meteorologist Jeremy LaGoo

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