Dates of the Harvest Moon

Posted by Kelly on September 18th, 2013

Harvest Moon

A Full Moon Carries Various Names. Credit: Hovard, SXC

Each month’s Full Moon carries various nicknames, and the most well-known of these nicknames is the Harvest Moon. However, the Harvest Moon is not simply the name for the Full Moon in September. While the Harvest Moon often occurs in September, it can also appear in October. The Full Moon that occurs closest to September’s autumnal equinox is the Moon bestowed with the term Harvest Moon. The autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere falls on September 22 or 23 each year.

Here are some past and future dates of the Harvest Moon:

• October 4, 2009
• September 23, 2010
• September 12, 2011
• September 29, 2012
• September 19, 2013
• September 9, 2014
• September 28, 2015
• September 16, 2016
• October 5, 2017
• September 25, 2018
• September 14, 2019
• October 1, 2020

Historically, in the mid-Northern latitudes, the bright Full Moon of autumn allowed farmers to have extra time in their fields to gather their harvest. A Full Moon that occurred too early in September was sometimes called the Green Corn Moon to distinguish it from the later Moon when the plants were ready for harvesting. When the harvest season was over, many rural people turned to hunting to store up food for winter. The Full Moon that follows the Harvest Moon is the Hunter’s Moon.

Most years September hosts the Harvest Moon, October has the Hunter’s Moon, and November holds the Beaver Moon. But if the Full Moon is early in September and named the Green Corn Moon, the Full Moon of October then becomes the Harvest Moon and the Moon of November is the Hunter’s Moon.

In 2020, the Harvest Moon and Hunter’s Moon will both be in October. When the Full Moon occurs on October 1, 2020, it will be the Harvest Moon. On October 31, 2020, another Full Moon within this month will then be called the Hunter’s Moon and also a Blue Moon, being the second Full Moon in a calendar month. This means that October 2020 will play host to the Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon, and Blue Moon.

5 people have commented

Cynthia Baxter said,

How would I find out what constellations were visible on the night of October 12, 1986 in Albuquerque, NM?

Kelly said,

Go to this website: http://www.wunderground.com/sky/index.asp and enter your zip code and the date you want. (The year doesn’t matter because if it’s just constellations you’re interested in, they are the same every year.) Basically it will show you the fall constellations. You can google Fall Constellations to learn more about them.

Andrew said,

A slight shadow is moving on the Moon. What could it be? Could it be dangerous? Look here! http://deepspace-explorer.blogspot.it/

Ron Creel said,


Y’all need to adjust your “Astronomy Today” description of our natural satellite, the Moon.

There were a total of 9 Apollo missions to the Moon, of which 6 were actual landings – Apollo 8 and 10 were for orbit and practice landing, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 were landings, and Apollo 13, which had to perform a quick return to earth due to an explosion in the Service Module on the way out.

Apollo 17 was the last mission in 1972 – not Apollo 18 , as stated in the article. Apollo 18 was cancelled in 1970.

Ron Creel

Marc said,

Thanks, Ron; well-spotted. I’ve made the change.

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