Say goodbye to summer with a salute to Monday night’s “harvest moon,” the last full moon before the Northern Hemisphere’s autumnal equinox on Wednesday, Sept. 22.
When is the harvest moon?
The Americas can expect to see a full moon by Monday afternoon and evening through Tuesday morning — as Europe, Asia, Australia and most of Africa enter their afternoon and evening hours on Sept. 21, which is their moment to see it.
That means the full moon has already risen for the Western-most US time zones, and by exactly 7:55 p.m. for the East Coast, according to NASA.
What does ‘harvest moon’ mean?
September’s full moon coincides with the traditional harvest season of North America and Europe, which lit the way for workers who toiled through dark hours to pull crops. As the sun briefly squares with the equator on the autumnal equinox, before shifting focus to the Southern Hemisphere, the time between sundown and moonrise is shortened. That meant ancient farmers could keep their workdays going into the night without pause.
What is the autumnal equinox?
The Northern Hemisphere enters fall as the Earth tilts to face the sun from the other side of the equator — marked by fewer hours of daylight. At the same time, our Southern counterpart forays into spring, called the vernal equinox, meaning they’ll reap most of the sun’s benefits for the next six months.
The autumnal equinox gives way to the winter solstice — on Dec. 21 for the Northern Hemisphere — when the Earth’s pole reaches its furthest tilt away from the sun.
What does Neil Young have to do with the harvest moon?
The Canadian singer-songwriter wrote arguably one of the greatest love songs of all time, called “Harvest Moon,” for his 1992 record by the same name. If you’re in for a good cry, check out the comments section of the YouTube video for the song — a record of countless tributes to lost loves by social media users.
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