Everything to Know About This Weekend's Harvest Moon

The annual full moon welcomes the autumnal season.

Harvest Moon sets behind the Statue of Liberty
Harvest Moon sets behind the Statue of Liberty before sunrise on September 20, 2021 in New York City. Photo:

Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

After an exciting summer of events in the sky, it's time for the Harvest Moon to unofficially welcome the fall season. And this year, the spectacular sight will occur this weekend.

From Friday evening to Sunday morning, the Harvest Moon will be visible starting from Hawaii's time zone and will move west. The moon will be completely full at 5:59 a.m. EDT on Saturday, casting a bright autumnal glow, according to NASA.

Here is everything you need to know to catch what's known as the brightest moon of September.

What is a Harvest Moon?

A Harvest Moon is the full moon in closest proximity to the beginning of the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22, according to the Farmer's Almanac.

Harvest Moon rises behind midtown Manhattan
A 98.8 percent Harvest Moon rises behind midtown Manhattan in New York City on September 19, 2021.

Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

What makes Harvest Moon so special?

The Harvest Moon is shared between September and October, while other full moon cycles can only occur in one month. Its name comes from farmers who relied on the glow of the moon for late night crop harvests, NASA explained.

Due to the tilt of the Earth at this time of year the moon rises earlier giving a few minutes of extra light, about 20 minutes in mid-latitude areas such as New York City. These extra minutes are really only seen in places that are in northern high altitudes. For example, in Alaska the moon will rise at the same time providing no additional light.

When and where can I see the Harvest Moon?

The best time to see the Harvest Moon will be at night on Saturday. According to timeanddate.com, moon-watchers can plan to see the sight — no telescope needed — around 7:45 p.m. as it rises in the Northern Hemisphere.

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