September 14, 2015

Have you ever noticed that the harvest moon looks bigger, bright and closer than a normal full moon? No? Well it does, but it’s an illusion. The moon is no closer to the earth in autumn than it is during its normal cycle.

The harvest moon is the full moon that appears nearest the autumn equinox. Before electric lighting was invented it was relied upon by farmers to light the fields as they brought in the last of the crops. Then and now it was an indicator of Harvest Festival, which falls on the Sunday closest to the harvest moon.

As we get closer to the autumn equinox – September 23rd – the moon’s path changes and makes a narrower angle with the horizon than at other times of the year. It rises earlier too, often around sunset, for several nights in a row, giving the impression it is ever-present. It is these two factors that make the harvest moon look bigger, brighter and closer, and one of the reasons our pagan ancestors considered autumn a mystical time of year.

Rix Petroleum delivering Gas Oil at Harvest

But there is another reason the harvest moon is so spectacular. The moon is closest to the horizon at sunset and when that’s the case, the light it reflects must passes through dust and cloud particles that scatter blue light and only let red light through. It is this that gives the harvest moon is distinctive, orange glow.

Nowadays farmers no longer rely on the light from the harvest moon, but we rely on farmers as much as ever for our food. That’s why everyone here at Rix Petroleum is proud to help fuel the nation’s farmers, particularly at this time of year as they work around the clock to bring the crops in.

We hope you’ve all had a successful Harvest 2015, and the harvest moon shines bring for you this year.

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