October Giant Full Spirit Moon 2023: What You Need to Know
It’s been a special few weeks for sky-watchers, with a rare double supermoon and a spectacular Perseid meteor shower visible last month.
Tonight the trend continues, with the final supermoon of 2023 visible on Thursday 28 September and Friday 29 September.
There have been four supermoons in a row in 2023, with one falling in July, two in August, and now this final one in September.
Supermoons are full moons that occur when the moon is at or near perigee, the point when the moon is closest to Earth in its orbit. At total perigee the Moon is 225,804 miles (363,396 km) from Earth.
A super full moon is like a typical full moon, only it’s a third brighter and looks up to 14 percent bigger.
This means that the Moon appears more radiant in the night sky, especially for seasoned observers.
In this instance, the Moon also rises earlier than it typically does so there’s less of a gap between the Sun going down and the moon going up.
This week’s final supermoon is called the ‘Harvest Moon’ in the northern hemisphere because it occurs close to the September equinox.
Back when people were harvesting by hand, this bright supermoon helped light up the evening after the Sun went down, which gave some much-needed extra time to get the harvest in before winter. The supermoon officially becomes full and therefore its brightest at 09:57 UTC (or 05:57 EST) on Friday, September 29. For those in the western hemisphere, it will be best viewed in the early hours of Friday morning, just before the moon sets to the west.
But even when not totally full, it will also look spectacular and huge as it rises in the east on Thursday night. For those in the eastern hemisphere, the best viewing will be Friday evening as the Moon comes up. The supermoon is always best viewed when it’s close to the horizon as it’s rising or setting, because it looks bigger due to an optical illusion when our brain compares it to other reference points.
To get the best view, find a spot without too much artificial light and hopefully not too much cloud cover. According to one definition, next year we will only see two supermoons – one on September 18 and one on October 17. So look up this week and enjoy the view.
October Full Moon
Names from different cultures Tugluvik (Inuit). Kentenha (Mohawk). Long Hair Moon (Hopi) Ten Colds Moon (Kiowa). Falling Leaves Moon (Arapaho). Corn Ripe Moon (Taos Native American). Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon (Neo-Pagan). Leaf Fall Moon (San Juan Native American). Blood Moon, Wine Moon (Mediaeval English). Blood Moon Falling :Full, Leaf Moon :Dark (Janic). Hunter’s Moon, Travel Moon, Full Dying Grass Moon (Algonquin Native American/Colonia).
Other Moon names: Spirit Moon, Snow Moon, Shedding Moon, Winterfelleth (Winter Coming), Windermanoth (Vintage Month), Falling Leaf Moon, Moon of the Changing Season, White Frost moon