Hunters Moon Autumn Moon

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The Hunter’s Moon is an autumn moon . It is the first full moon after the Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon is the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox. As the autumnal equinox falls either the 22nd or 23rd of September the Hunter’s Moon usually rises in October, but may occasionally be as late as November. In 2010 the Harvest Moon rose on the 23rd of September and the Hunter’s Moon rose on 22nd October. In 2011 the Harvest Moon rises before the equinox and the Hunter’s Moon will rises earlier, on 12 October 2011.

All full moons have nicknames according to local customs and folklore. The Hunter’s Moon is so dramatic that the same nickname is used in Northern Europe and North America. The name derives from the season. In northern Europe hunters took advantage of the moonlight to shoot migrating birds. In North America native people hunted by moonlight to gather food for the forthcoming winter. Twilight animals such as deer are particularly active at this time. It is a time of changing seasons which is traditionally marked with feasting. The Feast of the Hunter’s Moon is an annual event at Lafayette in Indiana.

Apart from the seasonal importance of the autumn moon for hunting and bringing the crops home the Hunter’s Moon has a helpful feature. At this time of year there is little gap between the time of sunset and moonrise. There is a continuous twilight in which to work. This is important because the days are getting shorter and there is much work to be done. At this time of year at 40 degrees north the time of moonrise increases by 30 minutes per day.

As the moon rises close to sunset this is probably a time of year in which most people are aware of the moon. There is no truth in the myth that the Hunter’s Moon is brighter than any other full moon. There is no connection between the phase of the moon and the distance between the moon and the Earth. Some Hunter’s Moons may appear bright, others may not. In 2007 the Hunter’s Moon happened to coincide with the moons closest approach to Earth for that year, producing a particularly bright Hunter’s Moon.

The Hunter’s Moon is an autumn moon whose features can only be appreciated in the Northern hemisphere. An observer in the southern hemisphere could observe a similar moon in the month following the March equinox.

 The Hunter’s Moon is a special feature in the autumn sky which can be appreciated for its folklore, culture and astronomical significance.

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