Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hunter's Moon

I seem to be on a "moon" kick of late. Perhaps because the moon looms so large on the horizon during this time of year.  As the sun begins it's winter descent, the moon and its eerie light take on a new urgency as we prepare for the darkness of winter.

The Hunter's Moon is also know as a Blood Moon or Sanguine Moon and is always the first full moon after the Harvest Moon, which is the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox.

The Hunter's Moon is said to have gotten  its name because it provided the necessary moonlight for hunting and shooting migrating birds in Northern Europe.  This sobriquet is also to have been used by Native Americans who tracked down their prey during late October and November.

Here in the Northern Hemisphere the Hunter's Moon appears in October or November, but most likely in October. In Western Europe, its appearance was celebrated as a feast day and was called appropriately enough the Feast of the Hunter's Moon, although the tradition faded away sometime by the 18th century.

Neither the Hunter's Moon nor the Harvest are especially brighter or more luminous than any other full moon. However, all full moons possess their own unique characteristics depending on the whereabouts of the ecliptic in the sky at the time of year that they are visible. 

What makes the Harvest Moon and the Hunter's Moon unique is the particular time they rise after sunset, which eliminates any protracted period of darkness between the setting of the sun and the moonrise, enabling hunters and farmers in the field to carry out their tasks late into the day and into the night.

adapted from Wikipedia and the Farmer's Almanac

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