By Kate Bilo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When I was little, my grandmother always used to sing the Harvest Moon song. I never quite understood what the harvest moon was, only that it seemed to follow January, February, June and July. But I’ve done a little research on the Harvest Moon and I thought I’d share with all of you.
First of all, each full moon in a specific month has a name. From the Snow Moon in February to the Strawberry Moon in June, each month’s full moon denotes something that happens during that month. So the harvest moon was named for the harvest season, the fall, when farmers begin gathering their crops. This, of course, is an activity that would keep them working long hours, and so the harvest moon’s bright light helped extend the workday so more crops could be gathered. Farmers often looked forward to the Harvest Moon, the full moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox (which happens this weekend).
The Harvest Moon tends to rise earlier than other full moons, so moonrise often occurs around sunset. This often gives the moon a reddish cast, and as it’s rising, it appears very large and imposing. The Harvest Moon will turn full just after 7 o’clock tomorrow morning, so tonight’s clear skies will offer perfect conditions for moon-gazing OR crop-gathering. And if you’re an astronomy buff, get out the binoculars – if you look closely, you’ll be able to see the greenish-hued Uranus near the moon.