Harvest Moon 2021 Photos Show September's Full Moon Rising Around the World

On Monday, September 20, skywatchers will have noticed a full moon if they were lucky enough to have a clear patch of sky.

It wasn't just any full moon, though. Last night's moon was the Harvest Moon, the name given to the full moon that occurs nearest to the fall equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

Photos of the moon were taken from around the world with some uploaded to social media. One, seen below, shows the Harvest Moon above some swimmers at a U.K. beach.

Harvest Moon over water
A photo showing swimmers in the sea at Swanpool Beach in Falmouth, England, on September 20 with the Harvest Moon in the sky. Hugh R Hastings/Getty

Another shows the moon appearing to glow orange behind the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

And another, taken by an astrophotography enthusiast, shows the silvery Harvest Moon in enough detail to pick out individual surface features and can be seen here

The moon is notoriously hard to photograph well. NASA published tips on moon photography earlier in 2021, including using a tripod whenever possible and using a fast shutter speed with a smaller aperture.

In some ways the Harvest Moon is just like any other full moon. There's a full moon every month, and each one has a particular traditional name passed down through different cultures over the years.

It's also not necessarily any bigger or brighter than normal. The moon's size and color can often appear different depending on where in the sky it is seen.

But the Harvest Moon does appear at a fairly significant time of year—the fall equinox, a time marking the end of summer when the night lasts roughly as long as the day.

According to astronomy website EarthSky, moons near the fall equinox also tend to rise relatively quickly after sunset, meaning there is no long period of darkness between sunset and moonrise on certain days.

This extra light could have been useful for farmers gathering their crops around this time of year, hence the moon's name, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.

The Old Farmer's Almanac also states that the Harvest Moon is not associated with a particular month, unlike the other named full moons of the year. It can occur in either September or October, depending on which is closest to the fall equinox.

The Harvest Moon is of cultural significance, for example during the Mid-Autumn Festival celebrated by Chinese people.

The fall equinox is due to occur on Wednesday, September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere. This will mark the end of summer and the start of fall according to the astronomical definition.

The next equinox in the Northern Hemisphere will be the spring one of 2022, which will mark the first day of astronomical spring.