All of the full moons that happen throughout the year have names (we really gathered all of the full moon names in one location), but the harvest moon is a little bit unique. It is determined by how close it is to the autumnal equinox rather than the month it occurs in.
A few additional interesting facts about this specific full moon exist, particularly in 2023 when the harvest moon will cross over with the supermoon in the Northern Hemisphere and take on a sunset-like tint. Discover when the harvest moon will appear this year and discover some interesting (but applicable) pop culture tidbits by reading on.
What Is a Full Harvest Moon?
The full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox, usually in late September or early October, is known as the harvest moon. Every day, the moon rises around 50 minutes later, however harvest moons are an exception to this rule. The harvest moon rises around 25 minutes later than the moon of the previous night, indicating a much shorter interval between moonrises.
This causes a speedier moonrise because of the narrow angle formed between the moon’s orbit and Earth’s horizon.
This phenomena adds more moonlight to the nights, which has historically aided farmers in harvesting crops late into the night. It may also improve conditions for surfers to ride waves in the bright moonlight. As summer gives way to fall, the harvest moon is a helpful friend, providing longer daylight-like hours for these activities.
When Is the Harvest Moon This Year?
The 2023 harvest moon will rise in the Northern Hemisphere on Thursday, September 28, just after sunset, and will peak in brightness on Friday, September 29, at 5:58 a.m. EDT, according to Almanac. This is also the year’s final supermoon.
For the same reason that the sun seems redder as it sets on the horizon, air scattering may cause the brilliant moon to appear redder. More of Earth’s atmosphere is illuminated by the sun (or moon) as it descends. Shorter visible wavelengths, such as blue and green, are scattered by this, allowing longer red wavelengths to reach human eyes.
A Rewrite of History in the Southern Hemisphere
Instead of September or October, our neighbors in Australia have their harvest moon in March or April. Additionally, the interval between the harvest moon and the moon from the previous night actually increases longer, not shorter.
This is also caused by the angle formed between the moon and the horizon, but in the Southern Hemisphere, this angle is broader than it is in the Northern Hemisphere owing to the tilt of the Earth’s axis.
September – The Moon of Corn
The full moon in September is also referred to as the barley moon or grain moon. These names refer to the point in time when the main crops are ready to be harvested, which is a time of plenty and getting ready for the next harvest season.
The maize moon is distinguished by its somewhat golden look in the night sky, which symbolizes the importance of corn in both Native American and contemporary farming societies.
Pop Culture’s Full Moon in September
Disney fans—children of the 1990s in particular—may be familiar with the song “Blue Corn Moon” from “Colors of the Wind,” which features Pocahontas. This alludes to a second full moon in September rather than blue corn, which is a true event.
The blue corn moon occurs when September’s full moon coincides with September’s full moon, which is the second full moon in a calendar month.
AI was used to construct this article, which a HowStuffWorks editor then modified and fact-checked.