Harvest moon makes first October appearance since 2009

Harvest Moon 2017 When and how to see October’s full moon

This year's autumnal equinox was on September 22, making the October 5 full moon the Harvest Moon - because it is the closest full moon in the calendar. The moon will continue to rise shortly after sunset the few days after the event and will provide extra light, but not as much as when its a full moon, reports The Old Farmer's Almanac.

The harvest moon is so called because for centuries, farmers waited for it so they could gather in crops to prepare for winter, using its bright light to extend the working day.

It is the name given to the first full moon after the autumn equinox - when the sun shines nearly directly over the equator.

Pete Lawrence, The Telegraph's Night Sky columnist, explains: "Normally, the Harvest Moon is September's full Moon".

Be aware that the moon looks the biggest when it's lowest in the sky, so early in the night is the best time to see it.

After rising around sunset, tonight's harvest moon will climb to its highest point around midnight and set in the west around sunrise.

While the Harvest Moon only occurs once a year, its benefits continue on for several nights.

But if you missed it Thursday, never fear: The moon will be nearly full through the weekend, unless cloud cover gets in the way, according to USA Today.

It's because you are seeing it through the thickness of the Earth's atmosphere which causes it to appear to change colour slightly.

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