The equal night and the full moon of autumn

Fourth in a seasonal series…

According to various astronomical, arboreal, and climatic indicators, it seems fall is here. The trees of the corralito are still growing somewhat, but they are clearly slowing down and getting ready for winer dormancy. Other than apples and pears–and the amazingly late and delicious ‘Emerald Beaut’ plum–all the deciduous trees at this lowest and coldest (on winter nights) part of the finca are done bearing their crops. The fruit harvest for the year has been mostly ingathered!


This photo it taken from approximately the same vantage point as the previous seasonal views, though I had to alter the angle a bit because, with a full season’s worth of growth, the trees are a much taller and fuller than at any of the other seasonal markers. (It is hard to believe that nearly all the trees in this hedgerow are on “semi-dwarf” rootstocks; size control is about pruning as much as it is about rootstock, and clearly I did not keep up with my summer pruning as well this year as I should have.)

Like the other photos in this series, it shows the extent of the shadow of the nearby grapefruit trees. It should be pretty much the same as at the vernal equinox, of course, and the shadow will cover much of the hedgerow at the winter solstice–thereby helping maximize (or “cheat on“) chill–whereas in midsummer, the trees are almost fully in the sun for most of the day (as they must be to ripen their fruit).

The photo above was taken on 25 September, at solar noon (12:40). That’s after the equinox, correct? Well, I sure would have thought so. Calendars indicate that the equinox was on Sunday, the 23rd. Yet, if we go by the Time and Date website, and understand “equinox” as that 24-hour period when the daylight and night hours are equal, then the equinox would really be the night of 26-27 September.

26-27 September? Well, that just happens to coincide this year with 15 Tishri, which, of course, is the first night of Sukkot. The full moon closest to the autumnal equinox–the perfect night to begin an eight-day celebration of the harvest!

The moon will indeed be full here on 26 September. According to Time and Date, it will reach its fullness at 12:45 PM, or almost exactly at solar noon, though of course the moon will not be visible then. That means that, here in the San Diego area, it will be just about as full tonight as it will be tomorrow. And, indeed, just now, at about the same time as sunset, the “full” moon has risen over the ridge to the east!


Naturally, in Jerusalem, where the sighting of the full moon in ancient days would have led to the declaration that Sukkot was beginning, the moon will indeed reach its fullness on the evening of 26 September/15 Tishri (at 9:45 PM, local time).

Rejoice in the harvest! Fall is here! Chag ha-Asif sameach! ((Chag ha-Asif, or the Festival of the Ingathering, is the alternate biblical name for the holiday we usually know as Sukkot, or the Festival of Booths.))

Previously in this series:

(The “sun & moon” and “Jewish living” blocks contain other plantings at various inter-seasonal points, as well.)

(And, wouldn’t you know? Just I was “planting” the above, a grasshopper came in to Ladera Frutal HQ. I would normally associate tales of such insects with a different holiday!)

0 thoughts on “The equal night and the full moon of autumn

  1. I’ll try to catch the moonrise tonight in Michigan as well. So far, however, we have cloudy skies.
    Next week, I’ll see the moon in San Diego.

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