October's Harvest Moon a rare sight - WNEM TV 5

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October's Harvest Moon a rare sight

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Harvest Moon over Bay City, 10/5/2017. Photo by: Kathy Woods Booth Harvest Moon over Bay City, 10/5/2017. Photo by: Kathy Woods Booth
Harvest Moon over MBS International Airport, 10/5/2017. Photo By: Howard Sharper Harvest Moon over MBS International Airport, 10/5/2017. Photo By: Howard Sharper
Harvest Moon, 10/5/2017. Photo By: Howard Sharper Harvest Moon, 10/5/2017. Photo By: Howard Sharper
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

The nearly-full Moon made quite a showing in the Mid-Michigan skies on Wednesday night, illuminating the Mid-Michigan landscape with its bright light thanks to clear skies.

While to the naked eye it looked full, it wasn't quite there just yet. The Moon officially became full at 2:41 PM on Thursday afternoon, serving as this year's Harvest Moon.

What's a Harvest Moon?

Now, you may remember earlier this year, we talked about the various names for each full Moon of the year. These names originally came from the early Native Americans who used the cycle of the Moon to keep track of the passage of time.

In September, the full Moon was traditionally called the Corn Moon, as it usually coincided with the time of harvesting the year’s corn crop.

October’s full Moon on the other hand, is known traditionally as the Hunter’s Moon. Deer and other game that spent the warm season fattening up were ready to be hunted around this time of year. Thanks to the bright light of this full Moon, hunters were often able to find their quarry even at night.

So where does the Harvest Moon come in to all of this? That name actually came into circulation later on, adopted by farmers for the full Moon that occurred at the end of the growing season. During harvest time, they could use its light to work later into the night.

More technically, the Harvest Moon is the full Moon that occurs closest to the Autumnal equinox. This occurs most often in September, but can sometimes hit in early October depending on the timing of the lunar cycle.

A Rare Late Showing in 2017

It may not seem like a big deal, but an October Harvest Moon is actually more rare than you might think. In fact, Thursday night’s is the first to occur in October since 2009, with the next only 3 years away in 2020. Following that, we won’t see another October Harvest Moon until 2025.

An interesting shakeup to the normal routine this year, and one worth well worth a look! Unfortunately, now the meteorologist in me has to say that weather conditions won’t be very cooperative for viewing on Thursday night. Mostly cloudy skies may allow an occasional peek, but Wednesday was the better night for viewing by far.

If you didn’t get a chance to see it, check out some of the included photos from other TV5 viewers!

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