What is Harvest Moon?
The Harvest Moon refers to the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox, which marks the commencement of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. The equinox takes place twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Equinox refers to those days when the length of day and the night are almost the similar everywhere on the planet.
Is the Harvest moon bigger, brighter and more colourful?
The harvest moon is just like any other moon and is not really brighter, bigger or more vibrant. But, yes it appears to be visible longer. Now, the reason behind why one sees the bigger-than-usual size of a moon near the horizon is due to a ploy that our eyes play, called ‘Moon Illusion’. And finally, the reason behind the orange colour of a moon is because of the greater thickness of atmosphere in the direction of a horizon, due to which a blue light is dispersed and hence one tends to see a brighter, orange moon.
Why is it called the Harvest moon?
It is dubbed as the harvest moon because its light used to help farmers to gather their crops and this is why it is also referred to as ‘Full Corn Moon’.
Songs on Harvest Moon
The harvest moon has been the inspiration to songs and poetry. One of the songs of the early 20th century is ‘Shine On Harvest Moon’ by Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth. It goes like:
Shine on, shine on harvest moon
Up in the sky,
I ain’t had no lovin’
Since January, February, June or July
Snow time ain’t no time to stay
Outdoors and spoon,
So shine on, shine on harvest moon,
For me and my gal.
Venus and Saturn close encounter
Not just the Harvest moon, astronomers will get a chance also witness Venus and Saturn having a close encounter in the sky. One can see Venus appearing low in the south west sky as the brightest star-like object. Saturn can also be seen, but not perhaps with naked eyes.
So, happy Harvest moon viewing!