The “Harvest Moon”—one of the most famous full moons of the year—will rise into twilight skies later this week just six days after the fall equinox.
It’s so-called because it illuminates farmer’s fields all night long. All full moons do that—since they all rise in the east close to sunset, shine all night and set in the west around sunrise. However, in September in the northern hemisphere it’s the Harvest Moon that helps farm hands to gather the harvest.
That’s a hark back to pre-industrial times and the name has its roots in Europe, while another popular name for September’s full moon—the Corn Moon—is of Native American origin.
The third-largest of four so-called supermoons of 2023, it’s the final such event in 2023. Slightly larger and brighter than usual, a supermoon is the inevitable result of the moon’s orbit around Earth being slightly elliptical. There’s a perigee (closest approach) and an apogee (farthest approach) point each month.
When a full moon coincides with perigee—or thereabouts—a supermoon is declared, though definitions vary because it’s an astrological rather than astronomical term. Technically the “Harvest Moon” will be larger than on average, but it’s the extra brightness that will be most noticeable.
Best Time To See The ‘Super Harvest Moon’
A full moon looks best when it’s viewed on the eastern horizon just after the sun has set in the west. The Super Harvest Moon will officially be 100% illuminated at 4:59 a.m. EDT on Friday, September 29, 2023 and the best time to view it will be moonrise where you are later that day during dusk. Europe gets a bonus viewing opportunity the following evening.
Friday, September 29, 2023
In London sunset is at 6:45 p.m. BST and moonrise is at 6:56 p.m. BST (full Moon is at 9:59 a.m.).
In New York sunset is at 6:43 p.m. EDT and moonrise is at 7:01 p.m. EDT (the moment of full Moon is at 4:59 a.m. EDT).
In Los Angeles sunset is at 6:42 p.m. PDT and moonrise is at 7:05 p.m. PDT (the moment of full Moon is at 1:59 a.m. PDT).
Saturday, September 30, 2023
In London sunset is at 6:43 p.m. BST and moonrise is at 7:09 p.m. BST.