Thursday marks the arrival of the 2013 Harvest Moon, the full moon that is nearest to the September equinox this year.
The moon officially turns full when it reaches the spot in the sky opposite (180 degrees) from the sun. That moment will occur at 7:13 a.m. Eastern time on Thursday in the Northern Hemisphere, according to Space.com
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The moon travels around the earth every 29.5 days. What people see when they view the moon is reflected sunlight off the sphere.
The Harvest Moon got its name from early farmers. According to FarmersAlmanac.com
, farmers would use the bright light of the Harvest Moon to work late into the night to harvest crops.
FarmersAlmanac.com wrote that a 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 each night, just 25 to 30 minutes later across the U.S., and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe.
Native Americans would also call this time of the season a Corn Moon, because corn, along with pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice, were ready to be gathered.
"These early evening moonrises are what make every Harvest Moon special," said Deborah Byrd of EarthSky.org on its website
. "Every full moon rises around sunset. After the full Harvest Moon, you’ll see the moon ascending in the east relatively soon after sunset for a few days in a row at northerly latitudes.
"The lag time between successive moonrises shrinks to a yearly minimum, as described in the paragraph above. Because of this, it seems as if there are several full moons – for a few nights in a row – around the time of the Harvest Moon," Byrd continued.
EarthSky.org reported that in the Southern Hemisphere, the autumn equinox falls in March. The Southern Hemisphere has a full moon with the same characteristics as in the Northern Hemisphere where it rises shortly after sunset for several nights in a row in either March or April.
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