The 2013 Harvest Moon is In Tonight's Sky


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The "Harvest Moon" of 2013 will occur on September 19 in the Northern Hemisphere. The Harvest Moon is the traditional name of the full moon occurring closest to the autumnal equinox, that precedes the "Hunter's Moon," or the following full moon.

For those on the east coast of North America, the crest of the moon’s full phase comes right before sunrise tomorrow morning, at 7:13 AM to be precise. One can still see the Harvest Moon in full-effect for a few nights around September 18, 19 and 20 - it's the succession of bright nights that define the event. The best way to see the Harvest Moon is to look up.

The Harvest Moon gets its name from the general brightness it emits, which allows farmers to work a few extra hours into the night. Harvest and Hunter's Moons are unique, because the delay between moonrises on successive evenings is much shorter than usual, so there's not a long stretch of darkness between sunset and moonrise. This phenomena occurs because the moon orbits the earth in the same direction the earth is rotating, allowing the moon to rise later each day.

Interestingly, the Maine Farmers Almanac, originating in the 1930's, began to publish Native American full moon names, adapted from old Algonquian languages. Here's a small list:

January: "Wolf Moon", "Old Moon"
February: "Snow Moon", "Hunger Moon"
March: "Worm Moon", "Crow Moon", "Sap Moon", "Lenten Moon"
April: "Seed Moon", "Pink Moon", "Sprouting Grass Moon", "Egg Moon", "Fish Moon"
May: "Milk Moon", "Flower Moon", "Corn Planting Moon"
June: "Mead Moon", "Strawberry Moon", "Rose Moon", "Thunder Moon"
July: "Hay Moon", "Buck Moon", "Thunder Moon"
August: "Corn Moon", "Sturgeon Moon", "Red Moon", "Green Corn Moon", "Grain Moon"
September: "Harvest Moon", "Full Corn Moon",
October: "Hunter's Moon", "Blood Moon", "Sanguine Moon"
November: "Beaver Moon", "Frosty Moon"
December: "Oak Moon", "Cold Moon", "Long Nights Moon"

So, tonight's a night of the "Full Corn Moon."

In related news, researchers have recently discovered magmatic water on the surface of the moon. Magmatic water is locked in mineral grains and might come from somewhere beneath the moon’s surface. Something to think about while gazing upon the "Frosty Moon" of November.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.