The Lit Maven

Harvest Moon Debut

Posted on: September 29, 2012

winking moonOn Saturday, September 29, 2012, northern hemisphere earthlings will be treated to a Harvest Moon, so named because farmers have traditionally used its super-bright light to harvest their crops late into the night. Corn, squash, and pumpkins among others are ready right now resulting in the Harvest Moon’s alternate name, Full Corn Moon. Rising around sunset, the moon is considered “full” when it is directly across from the sun in the sky. This will happen at 11:19 p.m. EDT and AT THE SAME TIME, will meet Uranus! A Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the fall equinox) rises at closer intervals each night of the cycle than a “normal” full moon – approximately 30 minutes difference from night to night in New York City vs. the regular 50 minutes. 2012’s Harvest Moon is late – last year, it occurred on September 11 – but it is well within its range, September 8 to October 7. This is not a big issue, though. We enjoyed a Blue Moon in August, so our Harvest Moon can be forgiven for being tardy.

The moon, especially a full moon, has always been a source of mystery, romance and fantasy. Who has not heard of “The Man in the Moon”, Old Devil Moon or Shine On, Harvest Moon? Native Americans as great lovers of nature, have different names for every full moon in the year, such as Full Snow Moon (February) and Full Flower Moon (May). And – moon mythology? Alive and well, thank you, despite humans leaving footprints on its dusty surface. Not bad for the Earth’s only natural satellite! If you read this blog after the Harvest Moon, you still have something to look forward to. In October, there will be Hunter’s Moon, the first full moon after the Harvest Moon.

So, when you look on the harvest moon this week, think of William Blake and his sweet poem, “The moon, like a flower/ In heaven’s high bower/ With silent delight/ Sits and smiles on the night.”

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