Enjoy a Real Harvest Moon Tonight!

“But now it’s gettin’ late

And the moon is climbin’ high.

I want to celebrate

See it shinin’ in your eye.” –Neil Young

The full Moon, beautiful as it is, isn’t really all that rare!

Once every 29-30 days, the Moon returns to a completely full phase, where the entire “day side” of the Moon (the side lit up by the Sun) faces Earth.

In fact, our word “month” is named after the Moon, and — unsurprisingly — each of our 12 months has a special name for its full Moon. And traditionally, September’s Moon, which typically (but not always) is the Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), is known as the Harvest Moon.

Why Harvest Moon? Because having a bright, full Moon overhead means that you’ll have enough light to harvest during the night as well as during the day!

(Incidentally, at the time of this writing, wikipedia offers Warren Moon as an alternate name for the Harvest Moon, which seems unlikely.)

But tonight is special. Yes, the Moon is 100% full right now, and the full Moon is always a gorgeous sight. But late last night was also the Autumnal Equinox! The equinox, when every single location on Earth receives 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of night, happens right around September 22nd/23rd every year.

But the equinox and the full Moon coincide only — on average — once every nineteen years! The last time they did was 1991, and the next time they will is 2029.

But there is an Autumnal Equinox Full Moon tonight! (For some of you, that means right now!) There’s always so much interesting history to learn about the Moon and how we view it from Earth, and learning about it makes me appreciate the Moon just a little bit more each time I look at it.

So enjoy your equinox and your full Moon tonight, and to the few of you who need the full Moon to harvest your crops, there’s no better night to get started than this one!