The Harvest Moon is the Full Moon closest to the Autumn Equinox in the last days of summer. The Harvest Moon can fall on either September or October, depending on the date of the Full Moon itself. This year, space agency NASA said the Full Moon will peak in brightness on Saturday, September 14. Depending on where you live, however, you might spot the Harvest Moon before midnight on the superstitious day of Friday, September 13
NASA’s Gordon Johnston said: “The Next Full Moon is the Harvest Moon, the Fruit Moon, the Barley Moon, the Corn Moon, the Mid-Autumn Moon, the Chuseok Moon, the Modhu Purina and the Binara Pura Pasalosvaka Poya.
“The Moon will be full early Saturday morning, September 14, 2019, appearing ‘opposite’ the Sun – in Earth-based longitude – at 12.33am EDT.
“The Moon will appear full for about three days centred around this time, from Thursday night through Sunday morning.”
Here in the UK, the Moon will hit full illumination at 5.33am BST (4.33am UTC) on Saturday.
Harvest Moon 2019: NASA welcomed the upcoming September Full Moon
However, stargazers living in Central, Mountain and Pacific time zones are in for a special treat.
The Moon will be full early Saturday morning, September 14
In Chicago, for instance, the Full Moon will peak around 11.33pm CDT on Friday the 13th.
In Los Angeles, California, the Harvest Moon will peak around 9.33pm PST on Friday.
But what is so special about this Full Moon and where does its unusual name come from?
Mr Johnston said: “As the Full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox – the end of summer and start of fall – this is the Harvest Moon.
“During the harvest season, farmers sometimes need to work late into the night by the light of the Moon.
“Usually the Full Moon rises an average 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time: just 25 to 30 minutes later cross the northern US and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe.”
The Harvest Moon, the NASA expert said, is an old European name that dates back to 1706.
READ MORE: What time is the Harvest Moon this year?
The first published use of that Full Moon name appeared that year in the Oxford English Dictionary.
However, since the Harvest Moon can fall on a date in October, the September Full Moon is also known as the Corn Moon or Fruit Moon in different cultures.
In the US, the Maine Farmer's Almanac attributes the names of the Moon’s full phases to the time-keeping traditions of Native American tribes.
The names were meant to reflect the change seasons and how they affected the landscape.
Mr Johnston said: “In China, Vietnam and some other Asian countries, this Full Moon corresponds with the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional harvest festival.
“In China, other names for the festival include the Moon Festival, the Mooncake Festival and the Reunion Festival – traditionally women in China would visit their parents then return to celebrate with their husbands and their parents.”
In Korea, the Harvest Moon corresponds to the harvest festival known as Chuseok.
In Sri Lanka, the Full Moon also marks the Buddhist holiday Binara Pura Pasalosvaka Poya Day.