September’s full moon will be visible in the sky above Merseyside on Friday night and will appear larger and brighter than average - making it the last supermoon of 2023.
The Harvest Moon will ascend less than a week after the autumn equinox on Saturday 23 September, which signals the end of summer and the beginning of autumn.
The most dramatic time to watch the Moon will be as it rises, to experience what’s called the ‘moon illusion’. This is when an optical illusion makes the moon appear enourmous when it is close to the horizon.
The rising moon will also have a red/orange colour as it reflects the lingering light of the setting sun, which is directly opposite at this time of year.
What is a Harvest Moon?
The Harvest Moon, sometimes referred to as the ‘Corn Moon’, is the closest full moon to the autumn equinox and is symbolic of a new beginning. Near the time of the equinox, the angle of the moon’s orbit relative to the Earth’s horizon is at its minimum, meaning the moon rises above the horizon much faster than usual.
Historically, the light from the Harvest Moon was said to help farmers work late into the night, as the bright moonlight helped illuminate the fields after sunset. It traditionally signalled the time of year for farmers to start harvesting their summer crops before the arrival of the autumn frosts.
When can I see it?
The Harvest Moon will rise not long after sunset at around 6.50pm on Friday 29 September and will remain visible until it sets at 8:10am on Saturday.
You can easily see it without the need for any specialist equipment and if you look closely, it should have an orangey hue surrounding it due to its close proximity to the horizon. If you miss it, it will also rise at almost the same time the following day and should still appear bright and almost full.
When is the autumn equinox?
The autumn equinox occurs in September every year and took place on Saturday 23 September in the UK.
The Earth is tilted on its axis, meaning that as it orbits the sun, the northern and southern hemisphere will be illuminated depending on where it is along its orbit. At two points in the year, the sun illuminates both the northern and southern hemispheres equally, in what is known as the equinoxes.
The autumn equinox signals the end of summer and the beginning of autumn, meaning the days will gradually start to get shorter in the lead up to the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere.
When is the next full moon?
The remaining full moons of the year include:
Hunter’s Moon on 28 October
Beaver Moon on 27 November
Cold Moon on 27 December