Harvest Moon 2013: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Harvest Moon

More than 100 years ago, the vaudeville star Nora Bayes and her then-husband, Jack Norworth, debuted the popular Shine On, Harvest Moon (1908). In 1992, Canadian musician Neil Young sang, "there's a full moon risin', let's go dancin' in the light" in his song, Harvest Moon. With this year's harvest moon rising on Wednesday, you may ask: What's so special about the harvest moon?

A typical harvest moon doesn't looks any different from a regular full moon. It's simply a name for the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox (the official start of the fall) and rises between September 8 (as will be the case in 2014) and October 7 (as in 1987). Unlike other nights when the moon rises about 50 minutes later than the day before, the harvest moon (and the hunter's moon, the next full moon after harvest moon) rises about 30 minutes later from its previous night.

It gets its name from the days before electric lights. The "shorter-than-usual time between moon rises" meant "no long period of darkness" after sunset for successive days. NASA's Tony Phillips wrote, as "farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset," it was "always a welcoming sight."

At times, however, the Harvest Moon can also be a supermoon, a brighter and larger (looking) moon that is observable when the moon is orbiting closer to Earth. The last so-called Super Harvest Moon happened in 2010 and is expected again in 2029.

So for anyone who is disappointed, here are some interesting moon names (in Northern hemisphere) as you wait until the next supermoon on August 10, 2014 or Blue Moon — an extra full moon — in 2016: beaver moon (November), wolf moon (January), egg moon (April), and strawberry moon (June).

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Eunji Kim

Interested in race and gender issues and Asian politics. Recent grad from Rutgers/Douglass Residential College. Former intern at Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and The Nation.

MORE FROM

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.

Anthony Scaramucci acknowledges “colorful language” after ‘New Yorker’ published his wild rant

Scaramucci's "colorful language" revealed the high-stakes tension going on at the White House.

Lindsey Graham says he is creating legislation to block Trump from firing Mueller

Graham said earlier that ousting Mueller would mark the "beginning of the end of the Trump presidency."

Despite Trump, military leaders say there will be no changes to transgender policy for now

“In the meantime, we will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect."

Trump will visit Long Island to discuss gang violence — but some fear he could make the issue worse

Trump has celebrated mass deportations as fighting gang violence — but are his words helping or hurting?

Like his boss, Anthony Scaramucci seems to be a fan of disgraced football coach Joe Paterno

President Donald Trump also gave a shout-out to the late Penn State coach during the 2016 campaign.

‘Hot Mic’ podcast: Transgender ban, GOP healthcare struggling, video games relieve work stress

What you need to know for Thursday, July 27.