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October Harvest Moon occurs tonight: What it is and why it's unusual

Harvest Moon first full moon closest to the start of fall

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – People who are outside tonight will be able to catch a glimpse of the Harvest Moon, which is occurring in October for the first time in nearly a decade.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the start of fall. It usually occurs in September, but has fallen in October for the first time since 2009.

The Harvest Moon is very bright and got its name because it offered the best light for farmers harvesting at night before the days of electricity.

Civilizations around the world have also used the phases of the moon to keep track of time.

NASA also calls it the Travel Moon, Dying Grass Moon and Blood Moon.

Another interesting fact is that in the few days before and after the Harvest Moon, it rises around sunset, making it appear larger when seen against the horizon.

It also often takes on an orange-like color. According to National Geographic, another October Harvest Moon will not be expected until 2020. 


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