StarWatch 891 for the week of September 15, 2013
The autumnal equinox, when the sun is crossing the celestial equator southward bound, and day and night stand equal around the world, occurs in just a week on Sept. 22 at 4:44 p.m. EDT.
Three days prior to the equinox on Thursday, the moon is full and because this full moon is closest to the autumnal equinox, it is named the Harvest Moon. It is probably the most famous of the seasonal moon names and universally recognized from mid to northern latitude locales of North America and Europe. The Harvest Moon results from the shallow angle that the moon’s orbit makes to the horizon during the time of the autumnal equinox.
On the night of full moon, Luna rises at or very near the time of sundown. For the next few days the moon’s orbital motion carries it about 13 degrees eastward each day, but that motion does not take it very far below the horizon, allowing the moon to rise at nearly the same time for a few days.
This situation allowed farmers to continue harvesting their crops by the light of the rising moon as daylight faded, hence the name Harvest Moon. Moon names associated with the other months follow:
January—Old Moon, Moon after Yule or Wolf Moon
February—Snow Moon or Hunger Moon
March—Worm Moon, Crust Moon, Sap Moon, Crow Moon, or Lenten Moon
April—Easter Moon, Paschal Moon, Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Fish Moon, or Egg Moon
May—Corn Planting Moon, Flower Moon, or Milk Moon
June—Rose Moon or Strawberry Moon
July—Thunder Moon, Buck Moon, or Hay Moon
August—Sturgeon Moon, Red Moon, Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon
September—Harvest Moon, Corn Moon, or Fruit Moon
October—Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon
November—Frosty Moon or Beaver Moon
December—Cold Moon, Moon before Yule, or Long Night Moon.