Harvest Moon

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"Harvest Moon"
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The full moon conjures up images of witches on broomsticks, ghosts and goblins.  The moon is more than just myth and legends.  Long ago, our ancestors used the moon as a calendar.  They had different names for the moon beginning with the Wolf moon,  Snow moon, Worm moon, Pink moon, Flower moon, Strawberry moon, Buck moon, Corn moon, Harvest moon, Beaver moon, and Cold moon. 

The harvest moon origins go back long before there was technology, many farmers used the light of the moon to stay in their fields longer and to pick crops.  Normally, the moon rises 50 minutes later, but around autumn equinox, the moon rises around 30 minutes later than average.  This in turn, causes an ecliptic effect.  The ecliptic effect is caused when you have the sun, moon, and planets at a narrow angle. 

One big characteristic of the harvest moon, is it bright, big, glow.  Technically speaking, the harvest moon is really no bigger than other moon.  The orange color, however, is it's true physical trait.  How the orange color is achieved can best be described as a prism effect.  Blue light is scattered in the atmosphere, thus, creating a red light that shines through the thick atmosphere. 

Normally, the harvest moon shines around September 22.  For 2010, the harvest moon is in a special time in history.  It is rising the same time as autumn equinox.  According to astronomer Tony Phillips, this phenomenon won't happen again until 2029.  The last time this happened was in back in 1991.  Another added bonus for 2010 is the moon illusion.  This is created with both the sun and moon shining at a 360 degree angle.  Something which is very rare to the avid astronomer.  Another added plus to astronomers will be Jupiter.  It is going to be appearing close to the moon during this time frame. 

The harvest moon is one of the most beautiful moons of the year.  It has a beautiful orange glow that is created through the atmosphere using a blue and red light.  The moon itself is one of the most dynamic and mystifying phenomenons known to mankind.  Some say it causes lunacy in people.  Other people believe that it causes bad things to happen. One thing is for sure, the moon is one of most fascinating things to study here on earth. 


Phillips, Tony, "Watch Out For The Harvest Moon", September 16, 2005,

Byrd, Deborah, "What's Special About The Harvest Moon?",

Malik, Tariq, "Harvest Moon on Fall Equinox Won't Be Seen Until 2029", The Christian Science Monitor. September 23, 2010.

Diaz, Jesus, "How To Watch the Super Twilight Moon Show Today,"  September 22, 2010,

More about this author: Tiffany Baum

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