It is that time again with September’s full moon coming on Friday, September 16th. The time of the full moon is Friday afternoon at 3:05 pm (all times through midcoast Maine), so moonrise that day will likely be the best viewing opportunity. Moonrise on Friday will be at 6:51 pm, just after sunset at 6:43 pm.
The Harvest Moon is by far the most common name for this month’s full moon. Technically the Harvest Moon should be the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox…most of the time (including this year) that is the September full moon, but about 1/3 of the time it will be the October full moon.
The Harvest Moon is the most well-known moon name and it lives strongly in popular culture. Despite popular belief, it appears no larger than other moons, but it does rise close to the sunset multiple days in a row (compared to other times of year). Saturday’s moonrise, for example, is at 7:25 pm, just 34 minutes after Friday’s moonrise. This aspect of September’s moon is part of its origin story as a name, as farmers used the light from the rising full moon to extend their harvest day during this crucial time of year for the harvest.
September’s full moon has other names, of course, either from other cultures that don’t harvest this time of year and for years when it is not the moon closest to the equinox. Examples include the Moon of Plenty, the Chestnut Moon, Dancing Moon, Autumn Moon, and Rice Moon, all names I’ve used for my Adventures in Celestial Mechanics project.
In gathering photographs for this month’s post, I came to the realization that September has been my most productive month for my full moon photographs. I suppose it is partially luck and partially opportunity because of weather this time of year, but I was pleased to see the wide range of photographs from the last five years. Please enjoy some of the selections from this series in this post!