A mesmerizing supermoon will light up our sky tonight, a rare astronomical spectacle that won’t will take place again until September 2024.
Stargazers are in for a treat as the so-called ‘Harvest Moon’ will shine brightly shortly after sunset at 6.45pm BST, marking the end of September.
It’s the latest in a rare series of four supermoons in 2023, including two in July, that won’t be seen again for a whopping 14 years.
Supermoons occur when a full moon nearly coincides with its “perigee” of 221,484 miles (356,445 km) from Earth.
‘[This occurs] “If the moon is full at the time the moon is closest to Earth,” University of Warwick astronomy professor Don Pollacco told MailOnline.
The last supermoon of the year will shine brightly after 6.45pm BST this evening
FULL MOON NAMES AND THEIR MEANINGS
January: Wolf Moon because wolves were heard more often at that time.
February: Snow moon coincide with heavy snowfall.
March: Wormmoon As the sun increasingly warmed the soil, earthworms became active.
April: Pink moon when it heralded the appearance of Phlox subulata, or moss pink – one of the first flowers of spring.
May: Flower Moon because of the abundance of flowers.
June: Strawberry moon because it appeared when the first strawberry harvest took place.
July: Buck Moon as it came when a male deer’s antlers were in full growth mode.
August: Sturgeon Moon after the big fish that was easy to catch at that time.
September: Corn/Harvest Moon for this was the time of the corn harvest.
October: Hunter’s Moon after hunting season to prepare for winter.
November: Beaver Moon because it was time to set up beaver traps.
December: Cold moon because the nights were the longest at this time of year.
Source: Old Farmer’s Almanac
“Consequently, the moon may appear larger (10-15 percent) and brighter (25-30 percent) than a “normal” full moon.
“To most people, they actually look pretty much the same.” However, keep in mind that the rising full moon may look larger than normal.
“This is partly due to the Earth’s atmosphere and also due to an optical illusion, like seeing the moon next to trees.”
Unlike monthly full moons, supermoons typically occur three to four times a year.
This is due to the very specific conditions required for supermoons to occur.
The astrophysicist Dr. Paul Strøm, assistant professor at the University of Warwick, told MailOnline: “The moon orbits the Earth in a slightly elliptical orbit – imagine a slightly flattened circle or oval.”
“This means that sometimes the moon is a little closer to us and sometimes a little further away.” At the same time, the moon goes through different phases – the shape of the sunlit part of the moon – as it orbits the Earth.
“A few times a year it just happens that we have a full moon, which coincides with the time when the moon is at a point in its orbit where it is closer to us.” Then people call it a supermoon .
“Given that it only happens a few times a year, one of these supermoons must be the last.”
Although rare, the astronomical phenomena have been the focus of countless myths and speculations for centuries.
Even Richard Nolle, the astrologer who first coined the term in 1979, was there.
He claimed that supermoons could trigger volcanic eruptions, worsen earthquakes and even influence the behavior of people on Earth.
These theories have since been debunked by scientists, who often prefer to use the term “perigee syzygy” to describe the phenomena.
This particularly applies to a full moon This happens when the center of the Moon is less than 360,000 km from Earth.
“The term itself has no scientific value: astronomers prefer to call it a perigee full moon, but undoubtedly ‘supermoon’ is a far more charming name,” astrophysicist Gianluca Masi previously explained.
A supermoon occurs when a full moon nearly coincides with its perigee – the point in the moon’s orbit where it is closest to Earth
Today’s event is the latest in a rare series of four supermoons in 2023, including two in July
The name of this month’s Harvest or Corn Moon is believed to come from farming communities who typically brought in grain at the end of summer.
Luckily, tonight’s supermoon will be large and bright enough to be clearly seen with the naked eye from anywhere in the country.
Although this largely depends on the weather, it is recommended to avoid cloudy areas with heavy light pollution.
Binoculars can also be useful if you want to get a close look at the lunar surface.
TIPS FOR WATCHING A SUPER MOON
High up! The higher up you are, the better your chance of clear skies to see the stars, plus you can see low to the horizon to watch the moon rise!
Turn off the lights For those who stargaze from the comfort of their own home, turning off the lights indoors can improve the visibility of the night sky.
Choose a night with clear skies. Choose a night when skies are expected to be clear for the best chance of seeing the stars.
Research what you are seeing. Enhance your stargazing experience and download Star Chart for free on AR-enabled Apple or Android devices.
SOURCE: Parkdean Resorts