The last supermoon of the year will grace the night sky on September 28. Known as the Harvest Moon, it will look closer and brighter than other phases of the moon this month when it rises over the UK.
The spectacular sight comes not long after two other supermoons lit up the sky in August, one of which was known as a rare Blue Moon.
Usually, there are 12 full moons in the year, however, sometimes we have more. Throughout history, each phase of the lunar cycle and full moons, in particular, have been given certain names based on distinct characteristics.
So, let’s take a look at the types of full moon that you might encounter throughout the year.
A Harvest Moon, which is what we will see on September 28, is the name given to the full moon that happens closest to the autumn equinox. This year’s autumn equinox will take place on September 23.
According to Nasa, the Harvest Moon was very important to farmers, who used the moonlight to harvest the last of their crops before winter set in. While not as important to modern-day farming, it still corresponds with the start of the colder months.
A Blood Moon is the name given to the moon when it has a red hue, which occurs during a total lunar eclipse. This is when the Earth, Moon, and the Sun are all aligned, which blocks light from hitting the moon.
During a lunar eclipse, the only light that reaches the moon actually comes from the edges of Earth’s atmosphere, which contributes to a red glow.
The colour of the moon can also be impacted by other things happening on Earth, such as pollution or dust in the atmosphere.
The last time we encountered a Blood Moon was in November 2022, when the world marvelled at a stunning bright-red moon which was named the Beaver Blood Moon.
The term blue moon is actually linked to the phrase “once in a blue moon”, because it’s considered rare. A blue moon is the name given to the second full moon that appears in a calendar month.
Contrary to what its name might suggest, a blue moon doesn’t have anything to do with its colour. Unlike the blood moon, a blue moon doesn’t have a blue tinge.
Blue Moons usually happens around once every two-and-a-half years, with the next one expected to appear on August 19, 2024. The last time the UK saw a Blue Moon was at the end of August. However, what made that moon unique was that it was also a supermoon.
A supermoon is the term used for a full moon that is at the closest point of orbit to Earth.
Also known scientifically as the perigean full moon, a supermoon looks bigger and brighter in the night sky because it’s closer to Earth. However, this is still around 226,000 miles away from our planet.
The upcoming Harvest Moon is also a supermoon, meaning it’ll also look a little brighter than a normal full moon. It’s also the last supermoon of 2023.
All the full moon names of 2023
As well as different types of full moon, each month also has a traditional name that is linked to various cultural traditions throughout history. As their traditional names suggest, these represent certain characteristics that align with the monthly full moon.
January - Wolf Moon
February - Snow Moon
March - Worm Moon
April - Pink Moon
May - Flower Moon
June - Strawberry Moon
July - Buck Moon
August - Sturgeon Moon
September - Full Corn Moon / Harvest Moon
October - Hunter’s Moon
November - Beaver Moon
December - Cold Moon