Harvest Moon fanatics will have an opportunity to spy the closest full moon to the autumn equinox in the night sky this weekend, according to USA Today. The moon, which generally rises around 50 minutes later each day than it did the previous night, will ascend to the heavens at roughly the same time for the next three evenings. Starting tonight (September 29) at 11:19 pm Eastern Time, stargazers and full moon enthusiasts will be treated to this annual phenomenon.
Long before the days of electricity and artificial lighting, farmers would use the moonlight during the harvesting of their crops. The appearance of the aptly-named Harvest Moon so quickly after the setting of the sun ultimately gave workers more hours in the day to get the job done.
“This brings a great deal of light into the early evening sky, which was important for the people harvesting because it extended the period of useful work time they could work in the fields,” Griffith Observatory director Ed Krupp explained.
If the weather is cloudy in your area or you have absolutely no desire to stand outside and gawk at the heavens, you can always stay inside and marvel at the beauty of the Harvest Moon by using the advances of modern technology. Space.com</> reports the Slooh Space Camera will webcast live viewings of the full moon and Uranus beginning at 7 pm ET. If you miss this particular showing, you can always catch the next webcast three hours later. What’s more, you can play Harvest Moon on your smartphone while watching the actual Harvest Moon on your computer. Whoa, indeed.
According to Slate, full moon followers may be interested in observing the Hunter Moon’s when it climbs into the night sky beginning October 29. Instead of assisting farmers with the harvesting of their crops, Hunter’s Moon provided light to hunters during their nocturnal adventures.
For a crash course in Harvest Moon history from people who know what they’re talking about, swing by EarthSky and discover everything you could possibly want to know about this weekend’s full moon.