Rare timing of Harvest Moon on Friday 13th appears tonight; next one will be in 30 years

Published 11:43 am Friday, September 13, 2019

By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer

Superstition will fill the air tonight — Friday the 13th — a day commonly known as one of the unluckiest of the year. As the sun sets, one of the most well-known full moons will fill the night sky and possibly bring a little extra bad luck with it.

Friday night’s full moon is the Harvest Moon, considered one of the most popular moons of the year. The origin behind this moniker dates back hundreds of years.

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“The Harvest Moon provides the most light at the time of year when it was traditionally needed most: during the harvest,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac explains on its website. The full moon closest to the September equinox is given the name of the Harvest Moon. Under the bright light of the full moon, farmers could work well into the cool September night to harvest their summer crops before electricity was around to power lights.

“Unlike other full Moon names, which are specific to their respective months, the Harvest Moon is not tied to September. Instead, it depends on an astronomical event: the autumnal equinox,” the Old Farmer’s Almanac said.

The Harvest Moon typically falls in September, but on occasion, it may rise in early October.

This year, the September equinox falls on Sept. 23, 2019 at 2:50 a.m. CDT.

Other names for September’s full moon include the Full Corn Moon and the Barley Moon in the Northern Equinox and the Crow Moon and the Sugar Moon in the Southern Equinox.

Will the Harvest Moon bring bad luck?
For centuries, some people have considered Friday the 13th to be a day of bad luck, although the precise origins of the day are up for debate.

With a full moon set to rise on Friday the 13th, some may think that this could bring some extra bad luck or misfortune for those that are superstitious. For some, a full moon is considered bad luck similar to walking under a ladder or breaking a mirror.

However, in some instances, it is also thought to bring a bit of good luck, according to lunar lore.

Regardless of your superstitions, this will be the last time that there will be a full moon on the same day as Friday the 13th for nearly 30 years.

While the fortune (or misfortune) that a full moon brings may be up for debate, research conducted in recent years has shown that it may still have an effect on people.

According to researchers with the University of Basel in Switzerland, people typically do not sleep as soundly during a full moon as they do during the rest of the month.

A full moon may also bring an increased risk of injuries.

In 2007, Dr. Raegan Wells co-authored a retrospective study at Colorado State University that examined whether the volume of animal emergency room visits increased on the days of the full moon. The data indicated that the “risk of emergencies on fuller moon days was 23 percent greater in cats and 28 percent greater in dogs when compared with other days,” according to a school news release.

After the full Harvest Moon on Friday night, the next major astronomy event will be the September equinox, marking the astronomical start to autumn across the Northern Hemisphere and the start of spring for the Southern Hemisphere.