Science

Harvest Moon 2017: When and how to see October's full moon

Harvest Moon 2017: When and how to see October's full moon

In the past, the Harvest Moon symbolised when farmers would need to start gathering in the food to prepare for the lean winter months.

While most harvest moons occur in September, an October harvest moon isn't necessarily rare.

Other full moons rise about an hour after sunset but the harvest moon rises just 20 minutes after. EarthSky points out that the September 6 full moon happened too early to be the "official" Harvest Moon. The next time that we'll see a Harvest Moon in October is 2020, National Geographic notes.

A harvest moon in the Northern Hemisphere is the full moon that appears closest to the autumn equinox, which usually falls around Sept 22.

The full moon would light up the night sky and give them more light to work with – allowing them to gather in the crops in preparation for winter
The full moon would light up the night sky and give them more light to work with – allowing them to gather in the crops in preparation for winter

The full Moon, observable to anyone in the northern hemisphere, was clearly visible across much of the United Kingdom thanks to largely clear skies.

After rising around sunset, tonight's harvest moon will climb to its highest point around midnight and set in the west around sunrise.

The last time a harvest moon occurred in October was in 2009, and the next one is due in three years.

No, although the moon's elliptical orbit around the Earth means that, sometimes, it can appear slightly bigger - this isn't one of those times.