Get set for harvest moon: NASA’s top tips for skywatchers


Stargazers are in for a treat on Thursday when the harvest moon lights up the sky.

“The next full moon will be on Thursday afternoon, Oct. 1, 2020, appearing “opposite” the Sun (in Earth-based longitude) at 5:05 p.m. EDT,” explains NASA, on its website. “The moon will appear full for about three days around this time, from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning.”

According to Old Farmer’s Almanac, the harvest moon is the full moon closest to the beginning of fall or the autumnal equinox.

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“During the harvest season farmers sometimes need to work late into the night by the light of the moon,” explains NASA on its website. “The full moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the northern USA, and only 10 to 20 minutes later farther north in Canada and Europe.”

A passenger plane, with a full Harvest moon seen behind, makes its final landing approach towards Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, October 5, 2017 - file photo. REUTERS/Toby Melville

A passenger plane, with a full Harvest moon seen behind, makes its final landing approach towards Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, October 5, 2017 – file photo. REUTERS/Toby Melville
(REUTERS/Toby Melville)

October is also a “blue moon” month, according to the space agency, with the second full moon, or “blue moon” occurring on Oct. 31. “In recent years, people have been using the name Blue moon for the second of two full moons in a single calendar month,” said NASA. “An older definition of Blue moon is that it’s the third of four full moons in a single season.”

Last year, the harvest moon fell on Friday the 13th of September. The full moon was the first to occur on Friday the 13th for almost 20 years.

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Last month’s full moon, which occurred on Sept. 2, was the full corn moon.

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