Stunning photos show last night’s Harvest Moon as it lit up skies around the world


A stunning selection of photographs captured last night’s Harvest Moon in all its glory, as the Earth’s natural satellite lit up skies around the world.  

This is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox – the moment the sun appears to cross over the celestial equator – on September 22.

In the UK, the full moon rose at 19:23 BST and set at 06:52 BST early this morning, but the spectacle will appear full and bright for the next two nights.

On average, the moon rises 50 minutes later than sunset each day, but when it is an equinox moon, it can rise as little as 25 minutes after sunset. 

The September full moon was named Harvest Moon in the 1700s when farmers depended on the glow of moonlight to harvest crops late at night.

The Harvest Moon rises earlier, sets later and in some very northerly latitudes like Alaska, can remain full and bright for up to a week. 

A photographer snapped a star-struck couple gazing at the full moon over an ancient stone circle on the Isle of Lewis

The Harvest Moon rises behind midtown Manhattan, One Vanderbilt, the Chrysler Building, the Spiral, Hudson Yards and the Empire State Building as the sun sets in New York City

The Harvest Moon rises behind midtown Manhattan, One Vanderbilt, the Chrysler Building, the Spiral, Hudson Yards and the Empire State Building as the sun sets in New York City

The full moon is seen from Tokyos Roppongi district. This is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox - the moment the sun appears to cross over the celestial equator - on September 22

The full moon is seen from Tokyos Roppongi district. This is the closest full moon to the autumnal equinox – the moment the sun appears to cross over the celestial equator – on September 22

SHINE ON HARVEST MOON: WHAT IS THE EQUINOX MOON? 

The Harvest Moon is the first full moon that takes place close to the autumn equinox, happening up to two weeks either side of the annual event.  

It derived its name because farmers are able to use the moonlight to work late into the night under moonlight. 

Normally a full moon rises about 50 minutes after sunset and sets about 50 minutes before sunrise.

For a Harvest Moon this can be as little as 20 minutes before or after, depending on how far north you are.  

Unlike other moon names, the Harvest Moon isn’t tied to a specific month. Whilst it is usually in September, it can also occur in October.

According to NASA, farmers used the light of the full moon closest to the equinox to extend their workday beyond sunset before electric light was invented. 

‘It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market.

‘The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became “the Harvest Moon,” and it was always a welcome sight,’ the US space agency explained.

‘The term became further entrenched in popular culture thanks to a 1903 pop tune called “Shine on Harvest Moon”.’

The Harvest Moon can occur any time from a fortnight before, to a fortnight after the autumn equinox and is either the last full moon of summer, or the first full moon of autumn. 

This is the fourth full moon of summer this year, and will peak before the equinox actually happens, making it a summer moon.

In the southern hemisphere it is the fourth full moon of the winter, known as a worm moon – in the winter the Harvest Moon happens in March. 

In one of the images of the 2021 Harvest Moon, a photographer snapped a star-struck couple gazing at the spectacle as it rose over an ancient stone circle on the Isle of Lewis.

The full moon sets behind the hills of the Taunus region near Wehrheim, Germany. According to NASA used the light of the full moon closest to the equinox to extend their workday beyond sunset before electric light was invented

The full moon sets behind the hills of the Taunus region near Wehrheim, Germany. According to NASA used the light of the full moon closest to the equinox to extend their workday beyond sunset before electric light was invented

The Harvest Moon, also known as the Corn Moon, is seen behind Boston Light as it rises in Boston, Massachusetts, US

The Harvest Moon, also known as the Corn Moon, is seen behind Boston Light as it rises in Boston, Massachusetts, US

The Harvest Moon is seen with the Presidential Complex, in Ankara, Turkey. The Harvest Moon can occur any time from a fortnight before, to a fortnight after the autumn equinox and is either the last full moon of summer, or the first full moon of autumn

The Harvest Moon is seen with the Presidential Complex, in Ankara, Turkey. The Harvest Moon can occur any time from a fortnight before, to a fortnight after the autumn equinox and is either the last full moon of summer, or the first full moon of autumn

Grant Jones, 50, lives on the Hebridean island and usually takes landscape photos, but was out during moonrise and snapped the shot on Sunday – just before the moon reached its full peak. 

He got married at the stone circle, Callanish, in 2014, so took delight in watching a ‘loved-up couple’ walking through the stone circle arm in arm. 

‘It was twilight, it was getting dark. I knew the moon would be rising. They came into the stones and they appeared transfixed by the moon. It made a lovely image.’ 

The Harvest Moon got its name from the ability farmers had to use the extra light to harvest their crops until the early hours – long after sunset.

The full Harvest Moon rises behind the top of the antenna on One World Trade Center in New York City. This is the fourth full moon of summer this year, and will peak before the equinox actually happens, making it a summer moon

The full Harvest Moon rises behind the top of the antenna on One World Trade Center in New York City. This is the fourth full moon of summer this year, and will peak before the equinox actually happens, making it a summer moon

The full moon sets behind the hills of the Taunus region near Wehrheim, Germany. On average, the moon rises 50 minutes later than sunset each day, but when it is an equinox moon, it can rise as little as 25 minutes after sunset

The full moon sets behind the hills of the Taunus region near Wehrheim, Germany. On average, the moon rises 50 minutes later than sunset each day, but when it is an equinox moon, it can rise as little as 25 minutes after sunset

The full moon, also known as the harvest moon, rises above Birmingham

Landscape photographer Jamie Russell captured the Harvest Moon rising above All Saints Church in the parish of Godshill on the Isle of Wight

Stunning images of the Harvest Moon have been captured from around the world, including in the UK over Birmingham (left) and the Isle of Wight (right)

The Harvest Moon sets behind the Statue of Liberty before sunrise. The September full moon was named Harvest Moon in the 1700s when farmers depended on the glow of moonlight to harvest crops late at night

The Harvest Moon sets behind the Statue of Liberty before sunrise. The September full moon was named Harvest Moon in the 1700s when farmers depended on the glow of moonlight to harvest crops late at night

A full moon, also known as the "Harvest Moon" is seen over the Hanoi skyline at dawn on September 21, 2021

A full moon, also known as the ‘Harvest Moon’ is seen over the Hanoi skyline at dawn on September 21, 2021

The Harvest Moon rises earlier, sets later and in some very northerly latitudes like Alaska, can remain full and bright for up to a week, often appearing bigger because people tend to view it closer to sunrise, as with this image from Boston, US

The Harvest Moon rises earlier, sets later and in some very northerly latitudes like Alaska, can remain full and bright for up to a week, often appearing bigger because people tend to view it closer to sunrise, as with this image from Boston, US 

It provides dusk-til-dawn moonlight for several evenings in a row, making harvest time easier, and longer, for farmers – rising 30 minutes after sunset instead of the usual 50 for other moons, due to the equinox.

According to EarthSky: ‘For very high northern latitudes, there’s even less time between successive moonrises. 

‘The farther north you live, the greater the Harvest Moon effect. For instance, at Anchorage, Alaska the moon will rise at nearly the same time for a week!’ 

 

Swimmers took to the sea to swim under the Harvest Moon in Swanpool Beach, Falmouth, to mark the equinox

Swimmers took to the sea to swim under the Harvest Moon in Swanpool Beach, Falmouth, to mark the equinox 

The full harvest moon rises Monday, September 20, 2021, as viewed from Olympia, Washington. The moon is the last full moon before the autumn equinox, which will take place Wednesday

The full harvest moon rises Monday, September 20, 2021, as viewed from Olympia, Washington. The moon is the last full moon before the autumn equinox, which will take place Wednesday

While the Harvest Moon is no closer, and no different to the average full moon, many people view it soon after sunset, at a time when all full moons appear more orange.

TV presenter, author and world-class astronomer Mark Thompson said the best time to view a full moon was just after sunset as the gas and dust in the atmosphere will turn it an ‘eerie orange colour’. 

‘To successfully capture lunar close-ups, a long lens is a must. Aspiring photographers should check out these expert tips from Canon for more advice,’ he advised. 

It can be a spectacular sight, although isn't actually any larger, brighter or more orange than other full moons, it just appears that way, as with this view over South Shields lighthouse on the north east coast

It can be a spectacular sight, although isn’t actually any larger, brighter or more orange than other full moons, it just appears that way, as with this view over South Shields lighthouse on the north east coast

The full moon known as the Harvest moon rises over Whitby Abbey, in Whitby. Much of the UK was covered with clouds, obscuring the moon and giving it an eerie feel

The full moon known as the Harvest moon rises over Whitby Abbey, in Whitby. Much of the UK was covered with clouds, obscuring the moon and giving it an eerie feel

The September full moon is more often than not the Harvest Moon, but if the October full moon happens closer to the equinox than the September moon, then it would be the Harvest Moon.

This is because the Harvest Moon is always the one closest to the point of equinox, or the instant in time when the plane of Earth’s equator passes through the geometric center of the sun’s disk.

An equinox happens twice a year, around March 20 and again around September 23 – although this year it is on September 22.

It is the moment when the centre of the visible sun is directly above the equator. 

FULL MOON NAMES AND THEIR MEANINGS 

January: Wolf Moon because wolves were heard more often at this time.

February: Snow Moon to coincide with heavy snow.

March: Worm Moon as the Sun increasingly warmed the soil and earthworms became active.

April: Pink Moon as it heralded the appearance of Phlox subulata or moss pink – one of spring’s first flowers.

May: Flower Moon because of the abundance of blossoms.

June: Strawberry Moon because it appeared when the strawberry harvest first took place.

July: Buck Moon as it arrived when a male deer’s antlers were in full growth mode.

August: Sturgeon Moon after the large fish that was easily caught at this time.

September: Corn Moon because this was the time to harvest corn.

October: Hunter’s Moon after the time to hunt in preparation for winter.

November: Beaver Moon because it was the time to set up beaver traps.

December: Cold Moon because nights at this time of year were the longest.

Source: Old Farmer’s Almanac   

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