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The Harvest Moon

Called the "harvest moon" because the time between successive moonrises is shorter in autumn than the rest of the year. Normally 50 minutes, the time between twilight and moonrise shortens to about 30 minutes. Before farm equipment had headlights, this allowed the farmers longer hours to harvest.

Although revered, some folks do not look at the harvest moon with much romance. According to the Farmer's Almanac, if the Harvest moon occurs in September it may also be called the Full Corn or Full Barley Moon. If it occurs in October, it may be called the Hunter's or Blood Moon, Traveler's Moon or Dying Grass Moon.

Astronomers would argue that even though we have different names for the various moons we see throughout the year-there is only one moon. And though we agree that the moon does not change shape or size, scientists argue as to why the Harvest Moon appears larger and brighter than other times of the year, a phenomena called the "moon illusion".

The Harvest Moon is celebrated around the world. Succoth is the Jewish Harvest Festival. The Chinese celebrate Harvest Moon Festival. It is fabled in Chinese mythology that Chang Er took a pill to become a fairy and flew to the moon allowing her to escape her husband. Chang Er, it is believed, can be seen in the moon when it is brightest in mid-autumn.

American romantics believe that the Harvest Moon signals the best time to think about cuddling again.

Shine on, shine on harvest moon up in the sky,
I ain't had no lovin' since January, February, June or July.
Snow time ain't no time to stay outdoors and spoon
So shine on, shine on harvest moon,
For me and my gal.

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