When It Rises, the Harvest Moon Will Cast a Spooky Orange Light Across the Sky

The harvest moon is also evidence that autumn has arrived if you need one. As of Friday evening, the moon will be visible to stargazers, reaching its brightest at 5:59 am. ET Saturday, according to NASA. According to NASA, the name “harvest moon” is given to this lunar event because it occurs so close to the autumn equinox when many farmers begin to gather their harvest.

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the full moon in September 2022 will be the harvest moon since it will be the moon closest to the autumnal equinox on September 22. The full moon in September is known as the corn moon, whereas the one in October is termed the harvest moon because it occurs closer to the equinox.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts the harvest moon will appear for the first time just after sunset on Friday and will continue to rise 25 minutes later each day in the northern United States and 10 to 20 minutes later in Canada and Europe. In its next phase, the moon will rise at its regular time, which is 50 minutes later each day.

According to EarthSky, the other full moons of the year still fall within that 50-minute window. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the harvest moon rises earlier in the Northern Hemisphere around the time of the autumnal equinox, when the moon’s orbit is closest with the Eastern horizon. Because of its proximity to the horizon in September, the full moon rises earlier than normal according to the almanac, which states that the moon’s orbit moves around 12 degrees to the east every day.

EarthSky said that the moon is out from dawn to dusk for a few nights in a row, which lets farmers keep working at night. According to EarthSky this happens in the Southern Hemisphere around the spring equinox in either March or April. When the moon first rises, it can appear a rusty orange color. This occurs because the atmosphere is denser at the horizon than it is overhead.

When the moon first rises above the horizon, it is filtered by the atmosphere and takes on an uncanny hue. It’s possible that the harvest moon looks bigger in the sky than other full moons, but it’s only a trick of your perception. EarthSky notes that the harvest moon’s proximity to the horizon makes the effect of the horizon’s perspective on the size of the moon much more pronounced.

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