Harvest Moon Is Tonight, Some Facts About September's Full Moon

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The Moon is Earth's only permanent natural satellite

The full moons of September and October are called by the name 'Harvest Moon'. It is the full moon that occurs closest to the date of the autumn equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, which marks the beginning of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. During this time, the full-looking moon shines from dusk until dawn because the path of the sun, moon, and earth makes a narrow angle with the horizon at sunset. The moon officially turns full when it reaches the spot opposite to the sun. Although, full-looking harvest moon is not always a supermoon, but it is no ordinary full moon; it behaves in a special way. It is special because during the months around the autumn equinox, days close to the full moon, the time of moonrise becomes very close to the sunset time for several evenings in a row and there is an abundance of bright moonlight early in the evening. It shines brighter and more golden than during normal full moons and there is very little darkness between sunset and moonrise. The rising and setting moon looks bigger than we see it high in the sky. In other times of the year, on an average, the moon rises 50 minutes after the sunset. But, on September and October evenings, the moon rises 15 to 35 minutes later of the sunset depending upon the latitude of the location-- it rises only around 30 minutes in the United States and even less in Canada.

This full moon is linked to harvest because during this time, in the late summer and early fall in the Northern Hemisphere, many fruits and vegetables tend to ripen. When electricity was not invented, farmers used to rely heavily on this moon's light, working late into the evening to harvest their crops. For bird lovers, this is the perfect time to watch the birds migrate past the light that emits from the moon. Birds wait for this moon to begin their migration.

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