The fourth and final super moon of 2023 will soon grace Australian skies.
The full moon will be a little closer to Earth that it usually is, which means it will appear bigger, brighter and more beautiful than usual.
Dubbed the Harvest Moon, it will rise in Australia on Friday, September 29. Here’s how to see the huge and spectacular Harvest Moon.
What is the Harvest Moon?
The Harvest Moon is one of the most famous full moons in the lunar calendar.
It’s called the Harvest Moon because it rises close to sunset for a few evenings in a row. Traditionally, that gave farmers a few extra hours of moonlight to help them bring in the harvest, according to Almanac.com.
Specifically, the term refers to the full moon that occurs closest to the September equinox, AKA the first day of spring season that occurs when the sun passes the equator, moving from one hemisphere to the other. This year, the equinox occurred at 4:50pm. AEST on Saturday, Sept. 23.
Rising at about 361,000 kilometres from Earth, this year’s Harvest Moon will be the third-closest super moon of 2023, according to In-The-Sky.org. Only the Blue Moon, which occurred in late August, was closer.
The Harvest Moon may also appear more yellow or orange in colour, since it’s directly opposite and reflects the sun.
It promises to be a fairly spectacular sight.
How to see the Harvest Moon from Australia
The Harvest Moon will rise in Australia on Friday, September 29.
It will officially reach its fullest state at 7:58pm AEST on Friday. But, if you have plans then, don’t fret. The moon will continue to appear bright and full both a day before and a day after the main event.
The Harvest Moon will appear brightest at moonrise, so that’s the best time to take a peak.
It will appear in the Pisces constellation. A couple of evenings later on Sunday, October 1, the moon — by that time 90 per cent illuminated and in the Aries constellation — will shine close to Jupiter, making for a particularly special sight.
What is a super moon and why are they special?
The phrase “super moon” was coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. According to Nolle’s definition, a full moon or new moon is termed a super moon when it’s within 90 per cent of its closest point to Earth — a point that’s called perigee.
Because the moon is a little closer than usual, it appears bigger and brighter.
There are also some flow on effects for the tides and — if it’s your thing — for astrology.
What the Harvest Moon means for the tides
The Harvest Moon — and, indeed, all super moons — has the potential to cause higher-than-usual tides.
High tides during a full or new moon at perigee are called perigean spring tides or king tides. Sometimes, they may also fittingly be called super moon tides.
These perigean tides tend to follow the date of a new or full moon by a day or so. They’re also highly dependent on the shapes of local coastlines and local weather conditions.
The Harvest Moon can also be good news for fishermen, since fish populations move and flow with the tides.
What the Harvest Moon means for astrology
If you’re into astrology, the Harvest Moon is a particularly exciting lunar event.
Astrologers believe the Harvest Moon relates to the hearth, home, friends and family. Thus, they believe it’s a good time to run errands such as a deep spring clean and to nurture stronger relationships with your loved ones, particularly those that you live with.
According to astrology, if you take advantage of the Harvest Moon to bake, clean, de-clutter and spruce, you may experience greater physical and mental clarity.
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