The Harvest Moon for 2013 happens this Thursday, Sept. 19. (Stefan Seip/Astro Meeting/NASA)
Don't Miss Tonight's Harvest Moon
SEPTEMBER 18, 2013Michele Berger, Weather.comGet ready for the Harvest Moon. Depending on where you live on the planet, it’s either Wednesday or Thursday of this week.
“In traditional skylore, the Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox,” EarthSky reports, “and depending on the year, [it] can come anywhere from two weeks before to two weeks after the autumnal equinox.” For 2013, that changing of the seasons happens on September 22 — just a few days from now.
Unlike the Blue Moon we covered back in August, the Harvest Moon behaves differently than a typical full moon. “Throughout the year, the moon rises, on average, about 50 minutes later each day,” according to NASA Science News. “But near the autumnal equinox … the day-to-day difference in the local time of moonrise is only 30 minutes.” Why does that matter? Simply put, agriculture.
“In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset,” wrote NASA’s Dr. Tony Phillips. “It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market. The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox became the Harvest Moon, and it was always a welcome sight.”Read more: The Weather Channel