Last supermoon of 2023: don't miss the harvest moon at the end of September
The fourth and final supermoon of 2023 will be visible after sunset on September 28, reports USAToday.
A supermoon occurs when the Moon is at or near its closest point to Earth in its orbit. At this time, the moon may appear larger and shine brighter than at other times in its cycle.
This year's harvest supermoon will peak at approximately 6 a.m. ET on September 29, according to Farmer's Almanac. It will also be visible on September 29 in the evening.
The supermoon on September 28 is called the “harvest” moon because it is closest to the autumn equinox, which occurred on September 23.
Farmers and other sky watchers also call the September full moon the “corn moon,” which signifies the end of the summer harvest.
In most cases, the harvest moon occurs in September, but every three years it falls in October.
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Skywatchers who miss this week's supermoon will have to wait about another year until the next supermoon graces the night sky in late summer 2024.
Why is it called the “harvest” moon?
The name has long been associated with the time of harvesting from the fields.
“In the days before tractors with headlights, moonlight was crucial for harvesting crops quickly before rain caused them to rot,” said Alan McRobert, editor of Sky & Telescope magazine.
According to NASA, many crops ripen in late summer and early fall, so farmers were extremely busy at this time of year and had to work after sunset. Moonlight has become an integral part of agriculture.
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The Oxford English Dictionary lists 1706 as the first year in which the term “harvest moon” was published.
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