The Full Harvest Moon brightens our night sky to finish the week. It’ll be fullest early Friday morning at 4:57 a.m. ET.

What You Need To Know

  • The full moon nearest the fall equinox is the Harvest Moon

  • It goes by other names, including the Corn Moon

  • This is the last supermoon of the year

  • You can also spot The Big Dipper, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus

The Harvest Moon comes in September again this year since this is the closest full moon to the fall equinox. Perhaps not surprisingly, this moon nickname comes from the fact that farmers are doing various harvesting this time of year. With a clear sky, the bright moonlight could help pre-electricity farmers extend their work into the night.

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Native American names for this moon include the Corn Moon, Leaves Turning Moon and Gourd Moon.

While the moon won’t be as close to the Earth as it was in July and August, this month’s full moon still is within supermoon territory, according to retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak. The usual disclaimer applies: You probably won’t be able to tell a difference in the moon’s size. But maybe you’ll see the moon illusion as the moon rises or sets.

Take a moment to look for other night sights. The Big Dipper–part of the Ursa Major constellation–will become easy to see, pivoting low in the northern sky. Jupiter will follow behind the moon through the night.

Simulation of the eastern sky late Thursday evening. (Adapted from Stellarium)

If you’re admiring the moon in the evening, look to its upper-right to find Saturn. If you’re an early riser, you’ll look to the lower-right of the moon. You’ll also see Venus coming up in the east before sunrise.

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