From Instagram to newspapers, the media is filled with pictures of the beautiful harvest moon that happened on Friday night leaving the night sky looking like a sci-fi Hollywood film, but why does this phenomenon occur?

Te event gets its name due to the moon’s closest position to the autumnal equinox, which tends to happen on September 22nd. This year the full moon occurred at the same time of a special lunar eclipse seen in Africa and Asia that won’t be seen again until 2024.

Te event gets its name due to the moon's closest position to the autumnal equinox. Photo credit: AP
Te event gets its name due to the moon’s closest position to the autumnal equinox. Photo credit: AP

The eclipse and harvest moon was visible in Australia, Asia, Europe and Africa but North and South America only enjoyed the harvest moon, which is said helped farmers with their crops providing them with more time.

Harvest Moon

The phenomenon is also given the name of the singing moon, hunter’s moon, wine moon and has set off an enormous list of rituals and supernatural beliefs mixed with astrological predictions.

Cultural beliefs have given every station and month the name of a moon to differentiate the stages of the year and the seasons that are coming. For example, January is known as the wolf moon and June as the strawberry moon.

The harvest moon is also seen as the sign that summer has ended, but it is a sign that our satellite is passing trough the outer edge of the Earth’s shadow, similar to eclipses people can see the moon turn into a different tone and aspect.

When an eclipse occurs, such as a total lunar eclipse, Earth’s satellite turns into a blood-red color but with the harvest moon. Earth’s shadow called penumbra blocks sunlight and the moon is seen in a yellow and vibrant color.

The harvest moon occurs near the autumnal equinox, which is when the Sun crossed the celestial equator which makes the night last more than the day, according to astronomy.

Besides providing great Instagram material, this phenomenon is associated with Mercury Retrograde in astrology, which is a rare event that happens a couple of times a year and in astrology justifies weird and strange phases of life. Horoscopes tend to advise people to stay alerted during this times of the year for several changes that could happen in their lives. It is seen as a time of adaptation.

Several countries, such as China, Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan have festivals associated with the harvest moon or Autumn festivals that mix different traditions like making wishes, lighting lanterns and sharing mooncakes, according to Teen Vogue.

Source: Mirror