How To View This Week's Super Harvest Moon, The Last Supermoon Spectacle Of 2023
Later this week, sky watchers will be privy to the last supermoon of 2023 and its being a Harvest Moon. The Harvest Moon will be accompanied by two planets shining brightly in the night sky, Saturn and Jupiter.
A Harvest Moon denotes the time of year when the full moon has unique characteristics. One of those is that for mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere, the moonrise is 20 minutes earlier each day, around the time of the full moon.
Higher latitudes will see even shorter intervals between successive moonrises. This is due to the ecliptic path of the sun, moon, and planets across the night sky, making a narrow-angle in the eastern horizon near sunset. The earlier moon rise gave farmers more time to harvest crops before darkness set in during the days of no electricity. Thus, it is referred to as the Harvest Moon.
Another unique aspect of this particular full moon is that it is also a supermoon. According to NASA, a supermoon occurs when the moon is at or near the perigee, causing it to look slightly larger and brighter than a typical full moon. The upcoming supermoon will be 224,658 miles (361,552km) away. The average distance between Earth and the moon is about 238,900 miles (384,472km), which means while it may not look any more prominent, it will undoubtedly appear brighter than an average full moon.
Along with the Super Harvest Moon, Saturn will rise before the full moon and travel ahead of it throughout the night. Jupiter will rise about 90 minutes after the full moon, making its path across the night sky behind the Harvest Moon.
The September Harvest Moon will be viewable around the world, onlookers need to gaze in the east at sunset on September 28. It will appear at its brightest around midnight while trekking across the night sky toward the west before sunrise on September 29.