The first of October's full moons, the full hunter's moon, was its biggest and brightest overnight Thursday, Oct. 1.
While October's full moon is always known as the hunter's moon, it's occasionally also known as the harvest moon.
The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox — the start of fall. This event usually happens in September.
Both names help mark the start of fall. Native tribes named October's full moon the hunter's moon, as this is the time of year where the game is fat and ready for hunting, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.
The harvest moon denoted the time for farmers to harvest the last of their summer crops, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.
The harvest moon was known for being bright, bold, and sometimes orange, and the moonlight was bright enough that farmers could harvest in it, the Old Farmer's Almanac says. This was pre-electricity.
In modern times, the harvest moon is perhaps best known through pop culture references.
The harvest moon has been immortalized in culture in a couple of ways:
- Neil Young wrote a song called "Harvest Moon"
- "Harvest Moon" is the name of a farming video game series
- Lancaster has its own taste of harvest moon with the Harvest Moon Bagel Co. in downtown Lancaster city
October will have a second full moon this year on Halloween, making it a rare blue moon.
Full moons happen on Halloween about once every 19 years; the last one was in 2001 and the next one will be in 2039. The last Halloween full blue moon happened in 1944, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.