Just as thunder follows lightning and sunset follows sunrise, the Hunter's Moon follows the Harvest Moon. The Moon is full at 3:02 p.m. Central Time, so the Hunter's Moon will cast its silvery glow across tonight's sky.
The names for the full Moons come from several sources. Many come from American Indians, who tracked the seasons and the years by the appearances of the full Moon. Others come from various regions of Western Europe. And some were used by both. To some extent, that's the case with both the Harvest and Hunter's moons.
The Harvest Moon comes around the time of the fall equinox -- the harvest time for mid-northern latitudes. In bygone days, farmers used the extra light to harvest their crops well into the night.
The Hunter's Moon is the next in the sequence. Its light helped hunters track game across the barren fields. So both full Moons played an important role in the everyday life of villages and families.
Today, though, not so much. Most modern farming is on a much larger scale, and more automated. And in most of the United States and Western Europe, hunting is more of a sport than a means of survival. So the light of the full Moon is a convenience, not a necessity.
No matter what the era, though, the full Moon is always a beautiful sight. Watch it tonight -- looking orange or gold as it rises around sunset, then casting its brilliant glow across the landscape during the night -- the glow of the Hunter's Moon.
Script by Damond Benningfield, Copyright 2008
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