The Harvest Moon is happening this afternoon! At 5:05 p.m. EDT the moon will appear “opposite” the sun. This “Harvest Moon” is the full moon that occurs closest to the autumnal equinox and gets its name due to the fact that farmers used to work by the light of the moon late into the night to finish harvesting their crops.
The Harvest Moon usually occurs in September, but this year it falls in October. It will appear full for about three days from Wednesday morning through Saturday morning.“The full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the Moon seems to rise at nearly the same time: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the northern USA, and only 10 to 20 minutes later farther north in Canada and Europe,” says NASA. “The Harvest Moon is an old European name with the Oxford English Dictionary giving 1706 as the year of its first published use.”
Fun fact: This October is also a “Blue Moon” month, meaning that two full moons fall in the same month. The first one will be on October 1st and the next on October 31st.
If you’re looking for a reason to celebrate the harvest (because hey, why not?) you can observe the following traditions: eating a mooncake, which is a round Chinese pastry usually filled with red bean or lotus seed paste and eaten at autumnal celebrations, visiting your hometown, parents or in-laws (while observing social distancing, of course) or camping out under the night sky.