September Full Moon – Corn Moon or Harvest Moon?

Last updated on October 10th, 2020 at 07:54 pm

full-moon-in-september
Credit: Behance

The full moon in September 2020, what do we call it? I mean, whether is it a corn moon? Or, is it a harvest moon? Well, this calendar year’s September full moon is Full Corn Moon.

In fact, it’s not a grand paradox to solve…!!! I mean, even you can easily solve this mystery by yourself, of course, if you know the simple physics behind it. And, if you don’t, then I am here to solve it out for you.

 

It’s Just An Autumnal Equinox, Not A Paradox

Generally, the full moon in September is known as the harvest moon. But, not this year. In other words, according to the traditional guidelines of the Native American Culture, a full moon that occurs closest to the Autumn Equinox is known as the harvest moon.

As per the astronomical data available, Autumnal Equinox 2020 will occur any time between 22 to 24 September. In fact, every year Autumnal Equinox occurs around the same date.

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If you compare the dates of two upcoming full moons of 2020, you will see that full moon in October (1, Oct 2020) is closest to the Autumnal Equinox, as compared to the full moon in September.

Therefore, in other to not to violate the sacred traditional guidelines of native American peoples, instead of naming the September full moon as the harvest moon; the full moon in October is given the name of the harvest moon. With this in mind, we call the full moon in September as a Full Corn Moon.

 

What Is The Autumnal Equinox?

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Illumination of Earth by the Sun on the day of an Autumnal equinox/Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Autumnal Equinox is an astronomical phenomenon that occurs when the Sun appears to pass over the celestial equator of Earth from north to the southward direction.

One of the most important interesting autumnal equinox facts is that during the equinox, the Earth’s Tilt becomes perpendicular to the sun’s rays. Meaning, the length of day and night becomes equal i.e 12 hours.

September Equinox marks the end of the summer season and arrival of Autumn in the northern hemisphere. That’s why, given the name – Autumnal Equinox.

On the contrary, If I talk in terms of the southern hemisphere, September Equinox marks the end of the winter season and arrival of the spring.

 

13 Full Moons In A Year

Obviously, you would be wondering that if every September full moon goes by the name of the harvest moon. Then, why this year is an exceptional case. I mean, there has to be some reason behind it. In fact, there is…!!!

As you know, in layman, a complete cycle of the phases of the moon exactly lasts for 29.62 days. But, in order to make things sound easy, we say a lunar phase lasts for a month. That’s why we get 12 full moons in a calendar year, meaning 1 full moon each month.

On the contrary, if we go by the actual calculation i.e a lunar cycle lasts for 29.62 days. What we get is 10 spare days out of each and every calendar year.

Therefore, if we add the total spare days of 3 calendar years together, we get is an additional full moon. That’s why, every now and then, we have 13 Full moons in a year. So is the case with this year.

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And, when we synchronize this extra full moon, we get two full moons in a month. As a consequence of this synchronization, the September full moon becomes full corn moon.

October will be the month which will have two full moons. And, the extra full moon in October (31, Oct 2020) is referred to as Blue moon. The next exceptional year (just like this year) will come after 3 years i.e 2023.

 

Different Names For Full Moon In September

Different people have given different names to the September full moon; of course, depending upon their native place, culture, and, their lifestyle.

Western Culture

As per native American traditions, the September full moon goes by the name of Corn moon or full corn moon. Because this lunar month fits for harvesting corn.

Similarly, other western cultures also refer to this full moon as barley moon. Because this moon marks the time of harvesting barley. During September full moon, Moon will be in Pisces.

Eastern Culture

As I am an Indian. Therefore, I would like to give the Indian perception about the full moon in September. Well, if you don’t know; In India, the full moon is known as Purnima or Poornima. In other words, you can say that in India, the full moon in Hindi is famously known as Purnima.

According to Indian culture, The full moon in September is remarkably known as Madhu Purnima. On this auspicious day of Purnima (full moon); we, Hindus observes Uma Maheswara Vrata as well as Shakra Vrata where God Indra (God Of Lightning, Thunder, Rains, and River Flows) is worshipped.

Also read, Why We Celebrate Maha Shivaratri i.e Shiva Festival?

Similarly, in Buddhist Culture, September full moon is also observed as the Honey Full Moon Festival. This Buddhist festival is celebrated by the Mon people of Thailand and in some parts of Bangladesh.

According to the Hindu calendar 2020, the full moon in September will be in Meena Rashi, which is equivalent to Pisces.

 

When Is The Full Moon In September?

The Corn Moon will be occurring on Wednesday, September 2. It will be 100% illuminated. Duh, of course, it will be 100% illuminated because it’s a full moon day.

As I said, we will be having 13 full moons during this calendar year. Apart from corn moon, the other full moon names are Wolf Moon, Snow Moon, Worm Moon, Pink Moon, Flower Moon, Strawberry MoonBuck Moon, Sturgeon Moon, Harvest Moon, Hunter’s Moon (Blue moon), Beaver Moon, and Cold Moon.

Just to make sure that you don’t get confused with full moon names, I have written all the full moon names 2020 in a hierarchical manner. Like the full moon in January is called a wolf moon and so on.

At last, I wish you good luck with this epic moon gazing. And, do let me know about your amazing experience in the comment section. Enlighten me with something new….!!!!!

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About Atul Sinha

I am a mechanical engineer by profession. Just because of my love for fundamental physics, I switched my carrier, and therefore I just completed my postgraduate degree in physics. Right now I am a loner (as like ever) and a Physics blogger too. My sole future goal is to do a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, especially in the field of cosmology. Because in my view, every part of physics comes within the range of cosmology. And I love traveling, especially the Sole one.

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