The full moon of October 2020, known as the Harvest Moon, will grace the skies this week on Thursday (Oct. 1).That’s the identical day that the planet Mercury reaches its best jap elongation, or the furthest distance east of the solar. That means on the night time of the full moon Mercury might be seen after sundown, although nonetheless shut to the horizon. The moon turns into formally full on Oct.1 at 5:05 p.m. EDT (2108 UTC), in accordance to NASA’s SkyCal web site. For New York City observers, the moon will rise on that day at 6:57 p.m. native time and set the following morning at 7:23 a.m. Rising about 20 minutes after sundown (which can occur at 6:37 p.m., per timeanddate.com) the moon will be within the constellation Cetus, the whale, a faint group of stars that might be principally overwhelmed by the moon itself. Given that it’s autumn within the Northern Hemisphere, the moon will attain a maximal altitude of about 47 levels at midnight in New York. As one strikes south the moon’s altitude will improve, and the reverse is true as one strikes north. For Southern Hemisphere skywatchers in Melbourne, Australia, the full moon will happen at 7:05 a.m. native time on October 2, rising at 6:41 p.m., and reaching a most altitude of about 50 levels. Related: Amazing Harvest Moon photographs by beginner skywatchersHarvest Moon 2020 defined The October full moon is commonly known as the Hunter’s Moon, in accordance to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, as a result of that moon happens when the season for looking many sport animals begins. This yr, the Oct. 1 full moon can also be the Harvest Moon of 2020, because it falls nearer to the autumnal equinox on Sept. 22 than the September full moon on Sept. 2. September’s moon was often known as the full Corn moon.Traditional names for the full moon typically mirror native setting and historical past; in accordance to the Ontario Native Literacy Coalition, the Ojibwe folks known as October’s full moon the “Mskawji Giizis,” or the Freezing Moon, as a result of October is when the primary frosts happen of their conventional territory within the Great Lakes area. The Cree folks known as it “Pimahamowipisim” (Migrating Moon), as in North America, many chook species begin migrating south for the winter in mid-autumn. In the Pacific Northwest, the Tlingit known as the October full moon “Dís Tlein” (Big Moon), whereas the Haida known as the moon “Kalk Kungaay,” or the Ice Moon, in accordance to the “Tlingit Moon and Tide Teaching Resource” revealed by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Traditional Chinese calendars name the eighth full moon as Guìyuè, or Osmanthus Month for the eponymous flower, marking the beginning of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The Festival can also be known as the “Mooncake Festival” for the meals of the identical title. One of the extra essential holidays in China, generally known as “Chinese Thanksgiving,” this yr additionally occurs to fall on China’s National Day, which commemorates the founding of the People’s RepublicRelated: Full Moon Names (and More) for 2020Harvesting by the sunshine of the moonIn this photograph by Stuart McNair, the rising Harvest Moon illuminates farmland throughout sundown on Sept. 15, 2016, north of Toronto, Canada. (Image credit score: Stuart McNair)Because this month’s full moon is the one which arrives closest to the September equinox, we model it the Harvest Moon. Usually, we affiliate the Harvest Moon with September, though that isn’t all the time the case. Sometimes, when the full moon happens in the course of the first week of September, we should wait till October for the Harvest Moon. Between 1970 and 2050, there are 18 years when the Harvest Moon is available in October. While the final one was in in 2019, the one prior was two years earlier in 2017.On common, October Harvest Moons come at three-year intervals, though the time-frame will be fairly variable, and there will be conditions the place as a lot as eight years can elapse (the following such instance will come between 2020 and 2028). Many assume that the Harvest Moon stays within the night time sky longer than any of the opposite full moons we see in the course of the yr, however that isn’t so. What units this month’s full moon aside from the others is that farmers on the climax of the present harvest season can work late into the night time by the moon’s mild.So, for a number of days earlier than and after the full moon, the moon hangs within the sky like an incredible, glowing lantern and prolongs the sunshine far after sundown. It rises concerning the time the solar units, however extra importantly, right now of yr, as a substitute of rising at its regular common of 50 minutes later every day, the moon appears to rise at almost the identical time every night time. Visible Planets Mercury will attain best jap elongation at 11:59 p.m., in accordance to NASA, which might be effectively after it units in New York, which might be at 7:20 p.m., in accordance to heavens-above.com calculations. But the planet will nonetheless be about Eight levels above the southwestern horizon at sundown, within the constellation Virgo. Finding it can nonetheless be difficult as a result of from mid-northern latitudes it will likely be so shut to the horizon. The planet itself will shine magnitude 0.0, about as shiny as Vega. The solar reaches about 6 levels beneath the horizon – known as nautical twilight as a result of the brightest stars change into seen, making it attainable to navigate at sea – at about 7:04 p.m. in New York, and Mercury might be solely 2 to Three levels in altitude. Seeing it can require some endurance and the power to pick the planet towards a still-light sky. The state of affairs for seeing Mercury improves as one strikes south. In Miami, the solar units at 7:06 p.m. native time, and Mercury units at 8:10 p.m., and is at an altitude of about 13 levels at sundown, and the planet might be at about Eight levels when nautical twilight begins at 7:29 p.m. Further south, as one will get to the Southern Hemisphere, Mercury is increased as a result of the angle the aircraft of the Earth’s orbit, known as the ecliptic, makes with the horizon is steeper. The ecliptic additionally marks the yearly path of the solar throughout the sky, and in fall and winter, when the solar is low, that path is nearer to the horizon, whereas in the summertime it’s increased (and the solar seems increased within the sky). Southern Hemisphere seasons are reversed, so observers positioned there are coming into the summer time months. The result’s that Mercury, from the perspective of a resident of Melbourne, reaches best elongation at 1:59 a.m. on Oct. 2, and at sundown on that day, which happens at 6:25 p.m., the planet is a full 24 levels above the northwestern horizon. Venus will nonetheless be a “morning star” rising at 3:31 a.m. native time in New York on Oct. 1. Sunrise is just not till 6:53 a.m. native time, and the planet might be 38 levels in altitude by then. Venus is shiny sufficient that it’s going to keep seen even because the sky turns into mild. Venus might be within the constellation Leo, making a detailed pair with the star Regulus which might be slightly below and to its left. Venus would be the brighter of the 2, showing shiny white to Regulus’ extra yellowish hue. On the night time of the full moon, Mars will comply with our pure satellite tv for pc, rising at 7:26 p.m. native time, showing to the left of the moon as they journey collectively throughout the sky. The moon strikes roughly one in every of its personal diameters per hour relative to the background stars, which signifies that over the course of the night time the 2 will seem to method one another very slowly. By the following night time, Oct. 2, the 2 might be in conjunction, or sharing the identical celestial longitude, at 11:25 p.m. native time. The two might be separated by 43 minutes of arc, or a bit greater than a lunar diameter. Both might be within the constellation Pisces. Jupiter and Saturn will each be within the constellation Sagittarius, and be within the western half of the sky by 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. From New York City they are going to be respectively about 26 and 28 levels in altitude. Saturn might be to Jupiter’s left, with the “teapot” form of Sagittarius to the precise of Jupiter. Looking straight up from the 2 big planets observers will see Altair and then Vega, which kind a part of the Summer Triangle. In the Northern Hemisphere the Summer Triangle stars are fading from view; after midnight in October they’re low within the western sky. Turning northward kind Jupiter and Saturn one will see Arcturus, within the constellation Boötes, which in mid-northern latitudes might be within the northwest. As the full moon rises within the east, one can hint a path “above” the moon and see the Great Square asterism which marks the constellations Pegasus and Andromeda. Both constellations aren’t particularly shiny, and one might need to let one’s eyes alter by not trying straight on the very shiny moon for a couple of seconds. Andromeda incorporates the Andromeda Galaxy, M31, however with a full moon that is a tougher object to see. Some of the brilliant winter constellations begin to change into outstanding in October. Orion and Taurus are above the horizon within the east by midnight. Editor’s Note: If you are taking a tremendous photograph of the Harvest Moon that you just’d like to share for a attainable story or picture gallery, ship photos and feedback in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Space.com skywatching columnist Joe Rao contributed to this report. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.