Harvest Moon: The last full moon of summer

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File image of a harvest moon from 2019

EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Summer’s end will be marked by a glowing Harvest Moon. Monday’s full moon rising will ring in the autumnal equinox with the summer’s last full moon.

The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is referred to as the Harvest Moon because it creates an abundance of moonlight for farmers to harvest crops later as the days grow shorter. 

The Harvest Moon is different from other full moon names because it’s not associated with a specific month, as the others are, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

According to NASA, the full moon peaks at 7:55 p.m. Monday and will appear full for about three days. The farther north you live, the greater the Harvest Moon effect. 

The Harvest Moon will rise in the constellation of Pisces, NASA says.

This year the Harvest Moon is the fourth of the season’s four full moons — the fourth moon of summer for the Northern Hemisphere, and the fourth winter full moon for the Southern Hemisphere, according to EarthSky.

A nearly full Harvest Moon is seen on October 04, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

Wednesday afternoon at 3:21 p.m. will mark the autumnal equinox — the astronomical end of summer, and the start of fall. That’s when the sun will be exactly above Earth’s equator.

The Harvest Moon also marks a shortening of days in the Northern Hemisphere. On the day of the autumnal equinox, morning twilight begins at 5:58 a.m. By the time of the next full moon in October, morning twilight will begin at 6:25 a.m., according to Space.com.

They also say a “true” Harvest Moon lands on the date of the autumnal equinox and happened most recently in 1991. In 2019, the Harvest Moon landed on Friday the 13th, which had not happened since 2000.

The equinox will create changes in nature as well. You may see birds and butterflies begin to migrate south, following the path of the sun. Plus, trees and plants are ending the year’s cycle of growth, resulting in the turning of leaves.

Celebrating autumnal equinox:

In celebration of the moon, the Delaware Canal State Park, just outside of our area in Bucks County, will hold a Full Moon Paddle event. During a two hour paddle under the full Harvest Moon, you will spend time exploring the Giving Pond Recreation area at night from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Head to the trails for the first day of fall. The Tiadaghton State Forest in Lycoming County will host an easy, two-mile walk, partially on the Pine Creek Rail Trail. All ages are welcome and it begins at 9:00 a.m.

Rickett’s Glen State Park will hold a fall hike to ring in the changing of season on Wednesday. The hike, the Fall Forest Shower, will provide education on the wellness benefits of spending time in nature. 

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