October Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon, St Michael's Church, Somerset, England.
Matt Cardy / Getty Images

If you were lucky enough to catch the rare harvest moon last night you were one of the many in the northern hemisphere to witness such a sight. The occurrence of a harvest moon appearing between Sept. 7 and Oct. 8 is roughly one-in-four. The last time a harvest moon occurred so close to the autumnal equinox was in 2009, almost a decade ago.

The next harvest moon won’t occur until 2020, this moon phase typically takes place in September, but this year the phenomenon took place just 13 days after the fall equinox, making it one of the nearest harvest moons to the autumnal equinox.

It’s been often witnessed that the harvest moon turns a deep orange, an effect that happens when the moon is near the horizon. Once it moves higher into the sky it will take on its usual white color. A sight that you can see with the naked eye, given that there aren’t any clouds that will obscure your view.

According to an interview in the National Geographic, NASA’s Gordon Johnston stated that the “harvest moon” moniker “hails from Europe, where its been used since at least the early 1700s.”

“Harvest Moon” also gained usage from when farmers would often rely on the light of a full moon in order to work into the night gathering crops in preparation for winter.

Harvest Moon 2017, Glow, Night,
[Image by foxaon1987/Shutterstock] foxaon1987 / Shutterstock

If you’ve missed it, don’t fret. The moon in the next few nights will continue to rise near twilight hours “making it seem as if there are several full moons…in a row.”

Didn’t catch it? You can catch the hunter’s moon next on November 3. The hunters moon may also qualify as a supermoon, as it will take place close to the perigee moon phase, which means it will be relatively close to Earth in its monthly orbit. If you’re interested in catching that, check out the time zones below provided by Deborah Byrd from Astronomy Essentials.

The precise time of the November full moon is November 4, 2017 at 5:23 UTC. In North American time zones, that places the time of the full moon at 1:23 a.m. EDT, 12:23 a.m. CDT – and on November 3 at 11:23 p.m. MDT and 10:23: p.m. PDT

Still can’t get enough, you can still check out the phases of the moon here.

[Featured Image by Matt Cardy/Getty Images]