What’s rarer than the Blue Moon?

With Autumn Equinox on September 22nd, 2013, our interest has peaked to the sky. It’s Harvest at ARO Pistachios which begs the question: When is Harvest Moon and what exactly distinguishes it among the other moons?

The Blue Moon sounds supernatural.

Artist's Blue Moon rendition

Artist’s Blue Moon rendition


Our research points to the modern definition of Blue Moon as the second full moon occurring in one calendar month. Due to the lunar 28-day schedule and our calendar system which includes instances of days extending beyond in a month such as 29th, 30th, and 31st, it is regular and expected for this astronomical schedule. Although considered rare, the last blue moon occurred August 20, 2013, and the next will be in July 2015. The moon hue does not shift to any shade of blue yet at certain times we’ve learned it seemingly can appear as such due to atmospheric gases resulting from volcanic explosions.


Coyotes howl in San Joaquin Valley.

Coyotes howl in San Joaquin Valley.


The full moon becomes the Harvest Moon when occurring closest to that year’s Autumn Equinox. This natural event was September 18th, preceding this year’s autumn equinox but can also follow varying annually. The Harvest Moon received this name from the farming industry: the radiant bright light exuded from this full moon which occurs in fall, the third season of the calendar year, glows the Earth assisting farmers at harvest. This is greatly appreciated at ARO Pistachios as harvest in the orchards is extremely busy day and night. When the Harvest Moon falls precisely on the Autumn Equinox, it is called the Super Harvest Moon. Rare and extraordinary, the Super Harvest Moon last occurred in 2010 and will occur next in 2029!

Here are some other seasonal moon descriptions to be explored:

January = Wolf Moon
February = Snow Moon, Hunger Moon, Opening Buds Moon
March = Maple Sugar Moon, Worm Moon
April = Frog Moon, Pink Moon, Planter’s Moon
May = Flower Moon, Budding Moon
June = Strawberry Moon
July = Blood Moon, Buck Moon
August = Moon of the Green Corn, Sturgeon Moon
September = Harvest Moon
October = Hunter’s Moon, Moon of Falling Leaves
November = Beaver Moon
December = Cold Moon

The Lunar Cycle. Source: NASA

The Lunar Cycle. Source: NASA


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