What to Expect From Tonight's Harvest Moon

Get ready for a spectacle in the sky.

ByALYSSA NEWCOMB
September 8, 2014, 10:46 AM

— -- After two majestic super moons this summer, get ready for Monday night's grand finale when the harvest moon lights up the sky.

Sky gazers across North America can expect to see a glowing orb around sunset -- providing a beautiful backdrop for Instagram photos or an evening stroll.

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The full moon will be the one closest to this year's autumnal equinox, which falls on Sept. 22, giving it the distinction of being the harvest moon. It is expected to reach its full phase at 9:38 p.m. ET.

PHOTO: The supermoon rises over the Mediterranean sea at Cabopino beach in southern Spain, August 10, 2014.
The supermoon rises over the Mediterranean sea at Cabopino beach in southern Spain, August 10, 2014.
Paul Hanna/Reuters

While it's not yet autumn, the harvest moon earned its place in lunar lore because moon rises several days before and after happen closer to sunset.

In the days before electricity, the harvest moon illuminated the fields, allowing farmers to tend to their crops under the night sky, according to EarthSky.

PHOTO: The waxing moon rises beyond the the tower at the Liberty Memorial on Sept. 7, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo.
The waxing moon rises beyond the the tower at the Liberty Memorial on Sept. 7, 2014 in Kansas City, Mo.
Charlie Riedel/AP Photo

The early Harvest Moon also qualifies as a super moon because it turns full less than one day after the moon reaches its closest point to Earth for the month.

The super moon is part of a trio of summer super moons that illuminated the Northern Hemisphere.

PHOTO: In this handout photo by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a full moon, or Harvest Moon, rises over the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building and the under-repair Washington Monument on Sept. 19, 2013 in Washington, DC.
In this handout photo by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, a full moon, or Harvest Moon, rises over the Lincoln Memorial, the Capitol building and the under-repair Washington Monument on Sept. 19, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Bill Ingalls/NASA/Getty Images

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