Full Harvest Moon Rising Occurs This Week: How to Watch, What to Know

by Halle Ames

This year’s October full Harvest Moon will be lighting up the night sky with an orange tint on October 1 and 2 for the Northern Hemisphere. 

The exact time to see the yearly moon is October 1 at 21:05 Universal Time. At U.S. time zones, that translates to October 1, at 6:05 p.m. ADT, 5:05 p.m. EDT, 4:05 p.m. CDT, 3:05 p.m. MDT, 2:05 p.m. PDT, 1:05 p.m. Alaskan Time and 11:05 a.m. Hawaiian Time.

The Harvest Moon is just a name for a full moon like any other. The main difference between regular full moons and autumn full moons is the time of the moonrise. In autumn, the weather is more temperate and cooperative to give viewers fuller-looking moons near the horizon after sunset. In addition, when a full moon happens close to an autumn equinox, the moon rises closer to the time of sunset.

As for the size of the Harvest Moon, it changes from year to year. Since the moon’s orbit is not a perfect circle around Earth, the distance from the surface changes. In 2019, the Harvest Moon was considered a micro-moon and was the smallest, most distant moon of 2019. This year the moon will be the second smallest full moon of 2020. In 2015, spectators saw the closest and biggest supermoon. 

A fiery red looking star will accompany this year’s, Harvest Moon. This is no star, however, but the planet Mars.  

The Harvest Moon got its name from the shorter than usual gap between sunset and moonrise for a few days in a row. The bright light the moon gives out used to help farmers with extended hours of light to gather their crops. 

[H/T Earth Sky]