scorecardresearch Skip to main content
Dave Epstein

The harvest moon was last night. Here’s what you should know

Jack (left) and Kathy (center) Duepree of Camden, Maine, and friend Betsy Starman, of Naples, Fla., watched the nearly-full harvest moon rise over Penobscot Bay on Friday night.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press/Associated Press

The harvest moon is here.

As you might know, the names of the moons were given by Native American tribes. The harvest moon — the closest to the fall equinox — gets its name based on the gathering of the crops.

This year the (mostly) full moon appeared late Friday. (It will officially be full at 12:33 a.m. Saturday, but once it’s at 99 percent I consider it full.) Full moons on Fridays are infrequent; the last one was 2006. The next one is 2049, according to a NASA scientist.

This year’s harvest moon is also a micromoon. A supermoon is when the moon is full and close to Earth; a micromoon occurs when the moon is full and it’s at its furthest point from Earth. It might appears slightly smaller. The combo of a Friday the 13th, a full moon, and a micromoon are rare.


Because of the time of year, the full or near-full harvest Moon is rising at about the same time each night. As we approach the autumnal equinox the harvest moon comes up about 25 minutes later each night, as opposed to a 50 minute difference much of the rest of the year. This makes it seem like the full moon is present for a longer period of time.

If you missed the moon Friday night, fear not. Check out the moon setting in the western sky around 6:30 a.m. Saturday. There will likely be clouds Saturday night, but after that the next several nights look generally clear, so you’ll get a good look at the moon.

October’s full Moon falls on Oct. 13, but it’s not a Friday.