Anthony Lynch snapped this photo of the 2013 Harvest Moon at Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland. Lovely isn’t it?

This year’s Harvest Moon arrived on my birthday September 18. The lunar orb lit the night and continued to be awesome for days, which led to some research on the moon.

Here’s what I learned:

  • The moon rises on average 50 minutes later everyday as the year moves on. The Harvest Moon rises only 30 minutes later. The earlier rise offers more light.
  • The full moon that rises closest to the autumnal equinox — this year’s official start of autumn was September 22 — is called the Harvest Moon.
  • The name Harvest probably sprang from  the lips of farmers because, in the days before tractor lights, the lamp of the Harvest Moon helped farmers to gather their crops, despite the diminishing daylight hours. As the sun’s light faded in the west, the moon would soon rise in the east to      illuminate the fields throughout the night.
  • Nora Bayes’ and Jack Norworth’s 1903 song titled Shine On Harvest Moon popularized the name. Here’s a great clip of Laurel and Hardy singing and dancing to the tune from their 1939 movie “Flying Deuces.”

A Harvest Moon is not truly bigger, brighter, or more pumpkin-colored than other full moons. It just appears to be.

NASA’s Dr. Tony Phillips explains why: “For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging Moon appears much wider than it really is. A Harvest Moon inflated by the moon illusion is simply gorgeous. The view improves as the night wears on.”

I captured the Harvest Moon with my camera. ???????????????????????????????

Not so great, but you can see some fabulous pictures here.

All these pictures make me think a Harvest Moon would be great setting for a romance scene.

What do you think?