In pictures: Harvest moon 2021 lights up night sky above the UK

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Geoffrey Swaine/REX/Shutterstock (12455128c) The full Harvest Moon in the early morning sky. The Harvest Moon is either the last full moon of the summer season, or the first full moon in autumn. The name of the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox,
The Harvest moon is the full moon closest to the equinox and usually falls in September (Geoffrey Swaine)

The last full moon of the summer reached its peak in the early hours of this morning, leading to some spectacular pictures from around the UK.

The Harvest moon is the traditional name given to the nearest full moon to the autumn equinox and marks the transition of summer to autumn.

Although the moon was at its brightest in the early hours of this morning, it will continue to look full for the next couple of nights.

While much of the UK sky was shrouded in clouds, there were still those able to get out and capture some glimmering pictures of the Harvest moon.

Here are some of our favourites.

FALMOUTH, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 20: Lone swimmers takes to the sea to swim under the Harvest Moon on September 20, 2021 in Swanpool Beach, Falmouth, England. (Photo by Hugh R Hastings/Getty Images)
Swimmers take to the sea to swim under the Harvest moon in Swanpool Beach, Falmouth. (Hugh R Hastings)
The full moon, also known as the the Harvest Moon, rises over South Shields lighthouse on the north east coast, at sunset on Monday. Picture date: Monday September 20, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The Harvest moon over South Shields lighthouse on the north east coast. (Owen Humphreys)
The full moon, also known as the harvest moon, rises above Birmingham, at sunset on Monday. Picture date: Monday September 20, 2021. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Jacob King/PA Wire
The Harvest moon above Birmingham at sunset on Monday night. (Jacob King)
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Geoffrey Swaine/REX/Shutterstock (12455128d) The full Harvest Moon in the early morning sky. The Harvest Moon is either the last full moon of the summer season, or the first full moon in autumn. The name of the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox,
The full Harvest moon in the early morning sky. (Geoffrey Swaine)

How to see the Harvest moon above the UK

Stunning photographs show a couple of wild ponies kissing on a beauty spot under a full moon as their foal looks on. See SWNS story SWMDpony; Wildlife photographer Andrew Fusek Peters captured the intimate family portrait on the Long Mynd, Shrops., looking over the Caer Caradoc hill, as a full moon rose at around 7.30pm on September 14. The ponies are owned but are free to live a wild life and graze all year round on the Long Mynd, part of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He used an Olympus EM1X and 40-150mm lens to get the shots. Mr Fusek Peters, 54, said: ???Ponies are quite affectionate, but to get that shot, with the two parents nuzzling while the foal looks on, is a perfect family portrait. ???What more can you want from a Harvest Moon? It???s just magical.
You’ll be able to see the Harvest Moon for a few nights this week. (Andrew Fusek Peters / SWNS)

The moon will be visible soon after sunset, but for the best view of it we’d recommend waiting until later in the night when the last vestiges of sunlight have faded and you’re left with a spectacularly bright full moon.

For the full effect, you’ll want to make sure you’re away from any light pollution like streetlamps or houses.

At the beginning of the night, the moon will appear near the horizon. It will continue to rise higher in the sky as the hours pass.

Why is it called the Harvest moon?

CANTERBURY, ENGLAND - JULY 29: Wheat is harvested in fields for Street End Farms on July 29, 2020 in Canterbury, England. British wheat growers were expecting to cut the smallest wheat area in 40 years due to a wet winter and drought conditions in the springtime. As Brexit uncertainty looms, many farmers in the South East of the country, who???s business models rely heavily on trade with markets in Europe due to the to their proximity and ease of access via the Channel Tunnel, are hoping for a favorable deal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
The Harvest Moon indicates the time of year farmers bring the crop in for the autumn (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Each of the moon’s 12 phases has its own name that will often change between cultures. Many of the most recognisable are derived from Native American names that have been picked up and circulated around the internet.

Lunar expert Gordon Johnston from Nasa said: ‘The Maine Farmer’s Almanac first published Native American names for the Full Moons in the 1930s.

‘Over time these names have become widely known and used.

‘According to this almanac, as the Full Moon in September and the last Full Moon of summer, the Algonquin tribes in what is now the northeastern USA called this the Corn Moon, as this was the time for gathering their main staple crops of corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice.’

However, it appears the term ‘Harvest moon’ actually dates back even further.

The Harvest Moon is actually an old European name with the Oxford English Dictionary giving 1706 as the year of its first published use.

MORE : Why can I sometimes see the moon during the day?

MORE : When is the Harvest Moon 2021? How to see it in the UK tonight

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