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Harvest Moon Lights Up Skies and Marks Start of Festivals Worldwide


Should you’re someone who rejoices at every sign of fall, chances are you’ll need to look out on the moon this weekend.

Across the US and particularly in places with clear skies, a full moon that signals summer is nearing its end will likely be visible. Due to the way in which light travels through the atmosphere and the moon’s location on the horizon, the moon appears reddish orange.

The harvest moon, whose name grew out of its utility to farmers who harvested crops in the autumn before the appearance of artificial lighting, will appear full for about three nights and is the total moon that happens closest to the Sept. 22 autumnal equinox within the Northern Hemisphere. It began on Thursday evening and can appear full into Sunday morning.

On Saturday evening at 8:23 p.m. Eastern, the moon will appear 4 degrees above the eastern horizon, based on NASA. Jupiter will appear to the left of the moon, Saturn above the southeastern horizon and the Vega star, considered one of the brightest in our night sky, above the horizon.

Jupiter, Saturn and the celebrities will appear to shift westward each night of the total moon, based on NASA. Jupiter will shine its brightest this 12 months on Sept. 26.

In Recent York City, Saturday night’s moon will rise at about 7:45 p.m. Eastern; it would be visible there until about 6:30 a.m. on Sunday. In Houston, the moon will rise around 8:07 p.m. local time and set around 7:10 a.m. on Sunday. And in San Francisco, the moon will rise around 8:01 p.m. local time and set around 6:57 a.m. the following morning.

Full moons at all times rise near sunset opposite the sun, which may give them a reddish orange tinge, said Kevin Lewis, an associate professor of planetary geophysics at Johns Hopkins University. “Anywhere with clear skies, it’s best to have an ideal view,” he said.

The moon often rises a mean of fifty minutes later every day because it moves through its cycle, but through the harvest moon, the timing changes by a smaller interval each night, closer to fifteen or 20 minutes depending on where you reside, based on the Farmer’s Almanac, which might have given farmers those extra couple of minutes in the times before the appearance of artificial lighting.

The primary known reference to the total moon because the harvest moon was in 1706, based on the Oxford English Dictionary, but cultures the world over have different terms for it and related traditions.

Algonquins within the northeastern United States called it the corn moon, “as this was the time for gathering their principal staple crops of corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and wild rice,” based on NASA.

The total moon overlaps with the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated in China, Vietnam and elsewhere, which partly involves making offerings to the lunar goddess. In Japan, the moon can also be called Imo Meigetsu, or the potato harvest moon, and sweet potatoes or taro could be offered alongside moon viewing festivals.

The lunar phenomenon represents the beginning of the vacation Pitru Paksha, “a sacred event in Hindu culture when people remember their ancestors,” based on The Times of India. Some Buddhists will likely be commemorating Madhu Purnima, or the honey-offering festival.

More named full moons will appear later this 12 months: the Hunter’s Moon on Oct. 9, Beaver Moon on Nov. 8 and Cold Moon on Dec. 7.

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