This month’s Full Moon is also the Harvest Moon

Posted at 6:05 AM, Sep 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-17 06:43:52-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – On my way into work this morning, before the Moon set, while many of you were probably fast asleep, I thoroughly enjoyed the brilliant almost-full Moon in the clear sky. Which reminded me, it’s almost the Full Moon of September! And we should have great Moon-viewing the next several nights because of the broad area of high pressure over our region in the wake of Monday’s strong cold frontal passage.

The September Full Moon is nicknamed “The Full Corn Moon” because this is the month when corn is typically harvested. It’s definitely been a wet year so far to support corn growth, which is great for yield! We’ve also been spared a tropical system or widespread severe weather event, so the crop is healthy overall in the Commonwealth.

Last year, Virginia corn battled drought. This year, the (welcome) wet weather has put the Virginia corn harvest about a week behind schedule, according to the Agfax update, but with dry weather expected the rest of this week, that will help prep the rest of the corn harvest. A farmer reporting into Agfax this week says, “Corn was drying down with the majority of the corn crop in good condition. Corn silage harvest was underway, but about one week behind normal.” I think better late than not at all, right?

The Full Corn Moon happens this Thursday, September 19 at 7:13 AM EDT. In Richmond, the Moon rises in the East at 6:35 PM on Wednesday, September 18, which should make for some lovely evening photo opportunities. The Moon reaches its peak at 12:45 AM Thursday, and sets to the west at 7:03 AM Thursday.

CLICK HERE to find out the Moon rise and set times for other days this week.

Another nickname for the September Full Moon is the Barley Moon (because it’s also time to harvest and thresh barley).

But this year, we get another nickname for the September Full Moon: The Harvest Moon! By definition, the Harvest Moon is the Full Moon that happens closest to the Autumnal Equinox. Fall begins Sunday, September 22 at 4:44 PM EDT (based on the Earth’s annual trip around the Sun).  This nickname is another crop-related one. By this time of year, the Full Moon can provide extra light by which to bring in the harvest.

The Harvest Moon always happens in September or October. Joe Rao of says, “a Harvest Moon can occur as early as Sept. 8 (as will be the case next year) or as late as Oct. 7 (as was the case in 1987).”

As if we didn’t already have enough names for this month’s Full Moon, it is linked with another Summer set: it’s the fourth Full Moon of the Summer Season (defined as the time in between the Summer Solstice and the Autumnal Equinox). The third Full Moon out of the four is called a “Blue Moon,” and that happened in August. So this month’s Full Moon completes the set of four to qualify this Summer as Blue Moon season. CLICK HERE to learn more about this astronomical occurrence.


Meteorologist Carrie Rose
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