2023 Super Harvest Full Moon

The Best time to see the 2023 Super Harvest Full Moon will be rising in the east at sunset on September 28. It’ll glow highest in the sky near midnight, and drop low in the west before sunrise on September 29.

2023 Super Harvest Full Moon
2023 Super Harvest Full Moon

The September Supermoon is often referred to as a Harvest Moon because it occurs shortly after the fall equinox. Harvest Moons traditionally illuminate the Earth around sunset (although not this year), coinciding with the fading daylight. This unique timing provides harvesters with additional moonlit evenings before the official onset of autumn, allowing them to tend to their crops. This celestial event is also commonly known as a Corn Moon, symbolizing the peak of corn harvesting in the northern United States.

The 2023 Super Harvest Full Moon joins Jupiter and Saturn

In 2023, the extraordinary Harvest Moon will be situated amidst two prominent planets. The resplendent Saturn will ascend more than an hour before the full moon and proceed to lead it across the night sky. Meanwhile, our solar system’s grandest planet, the brilliantly shining Jupiter, will make its appearance approximately 90 minutes after the moon rises. For an exact celestial perspective from your specific location, you can refer to Stellarium.org.

In 2023, the September equinox is set to occur at 6:50 UTC (1:50 a.m. CDT) on September 23rd. Following this, the full moon graces us about six days later.

2023 Super Harvest Full Moon: Harvest Moon is a Special

What makes the Harvest Moon so special? Ordinarily, the moon rises approximately 50 minutes later each day as it orbits Earth. However, during mid-to-late September, especially for locations in the Northern Hemisphere with mid-latitudes, this time decreases to just 20 minutes later each day, coinciding with the time of the full moon. The closer one is to the North Pole, the shorter the gap between consecutive moonrises.

Why does this happen? It’s due to the ecliptic, the path traced by the sun, moon, and planets across our sky, forming a shallow angle with the eastern horizon around sunset during the autumn equinox. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, this occurs in September or October, while for Southern Hemisphere observers, it’s March or April. This shallow angle of the ecliptic during the autumn equinox leads to a shorter duration between successive moonrises, giving us the Harvest Moon.

2023 Super Harvest Full Moon
2023 Super Harvest Full Moon PC: 12019 – Pixabay

A shorter interval between moonrises means that, on multiple evenings surrounding the September full moon, you’ll witness a moon that appears full or nearly full, low in the eastern sky during evening twilight. In the days before the advent of electric lighting, this early evening illumination from the full moon provided farmers with more working time in the fields before darkness descended.

The 2023 Super Harvest Full Moon will officially reach its full phase for observers in New York City on September 29th at 4:47 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, as reported by the U.S. Naval Observatory.

While “supermoon” isn’t a precise astronomical term, it simply denotes a moment when the moon comes closest to Earth within a couple of days of reaching its full phase. In this case, the moon will reach perigee, its closest point to Earth, on September 27th at 8:58 p.m. Eastern Time. Supermoons occur due to the moon’s elliptical orbit, which deviates slightly from a perfect circle.

At perigee, the moon is approximately 226,000 miles (363,300 kilometers) from Earth, while at its farthest point, known as apogee, it extends to about 253,000 miles (405,000 kilometers). The disparity, though not substantial, causes a typical “supermoon” to appear roughly 10 to 11 percent larger than an average full moon. However, discerning this difference often requires keen observation and monitoring of full moons over several months.

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