This year’s Harvest Moon will reach peak illumination on Monday, September 20 at 7:55 p.m. EDT.
The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the first day of autumn, which will follow just two days after its peak.
This full moon is associated with fall, but it’s actually the last one of summer in 2021.
Although there might not be a chill in the air just yet, the signs of autumn are undeniable: From shorter days to pumpkin spice lattes, summer is beginning to fade into fall. And now, making that transition just a little more magical, this year’s Harvest Moon is on its way.
The 2021 Harvest Moon will reach peak illumination on Monday, September 20 at 7:55 p.m. EDT, according to NASA, and will appear full from Sunday evening through Wednesday morning. It’ll light up the sky just hours before the autumn equinox on Wednesday, which marks the first official day of fall.
Each year, the Harvest Moon is the full moon that falls closest to the autumn equinox. Though it’s often associated with fall, it actually occurs in summer about half of the time, per the Farmers’ Almanac; it can occur as early as two weeks before and as late as two weeks after this event. (Fun fact: Because September’s Harvest Moon barely squeezed itself into summer, August’s Sturgeon Moon was classified as a rare blue moon.)
Around the autumn equinox, The Old Farmer’s Almanac explains, the moon rises soon after sunset, casting a bright light. The name “Harvest Moon,” then, comes from the farmers who worked by the light of the moon to complete their harvest of summer’s crops.
Other names for September’s full moon include the Fruit Moon and the Barley Moon (which originated in Europe), plus the Corn Moon (which reportedly comes from the Algonquin tribes), per NASA.
The next full moon—the first of fall, named the Hunter’s Moon—will occur on the morning of Wednesday, October 20, NASA explains, just before Halloween. By then, fall will be in full swing—but for now, we can enjoy the last few nights of summer by moonlight.
So pour the last of your favorite summer wine and set a reminder to look up Monday evening—this full moon is one you won't want to miss.
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