September 18th Brings Harvest Moon 2013
The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is traditionally called the ‘harvest moon’. Wednesday, September 18th, 2013 marks this years harvest moon.
The term harvest moon comes from the era before electric lights, when farmers would work day and night to harvest crops before the coming frost. The light from the full moon made it easier to work by night.
For skywatchers in Canada and other parts of North America, the full moon is expected to rise shortly after sunset (depending on your location) and will peak at 7:13 a.m. EDT the next morning.
The Harvest Moon will be especially visible during the overnight hours, even though it won’t actually be “full” until Thursday morning.
As EarthSky explains:
No matter where you are on Earth, this full moon – and every full moon – ascends over your eastern horizon around the time of sunset. It’s always highest in the sky in the middle of the night, when the sun is below your feet. That’s because a full moon is opposite the sun. Being opposite the sun, the moon is showing us its fully lighted hemisphere, or “day” side. That’s what makes the moon look full.
Harvest moons are rumored to look brighter or larger in the morning sky. Most of this is based on the angle of the Earth in relation to the moon during the seasonal change.
The harvest moon will appear during the next three days. The seasonal tilt allows more light to be visible during the early morning hours. The next full moon is traditionally called the ‘Hunter’s Moon’, though the name has faded a bit from the lexicon as fewer people rely on agriculture and hunting to supply winter food.