On Thursday, September 28th, the full moon will shine brightly in the Atlanta skies. It will be a Super Moon, which is perfect for amateur sky-gazers to enjoy — because you can’t miss it.
A super moon happens when the moon’s orbit brings it closest to Earth at the same time the moon is full — making it appear about 17% larger and much brighter than an average moon, according to NASA.
The September full moon is also known as the Harvest Moon.
It received this nickname because, before the modern age, farmers relied on the extra moonlight around the time of the full moon, as they worked past sunrise to bring in the harvest.
Fun Fact about the September full moon!
September’s full moon is usually known as the Harvest Moon — because it is usually the full moon closest to the date of the Autumnal Equinox. However, if the October full moon happens to occur closer to the equinox than September’s, then it is granted the name of Harvest Moon, and the September full moon is called the Corn Moon.
When & where to see the Super Moon on Sept. 28 & 29
The moon reaches the exact moment of peak fullness at 5:58 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 29th, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.
That means the moon will appear full to your eye on two evenings:
♦ Thursday, September 28th — moonrise at 7:16 p.m.
♦ Friday, September 29th — moonrise at 7:46 p.m.
Moonrise is defined as the moment when the upper edge of the moon appears above the horizon.
Just like the sun, the moon rises in the eastern sky and sets in the west.
So if you have a clear view of the horizon, you’ll be able to watch the moon rise. And if your view of the eastern horizon is blocked by trees, as is common in Atlanta, you can wait a little longer for a view of the Super Moon through the trees, and eventually high in the sky above the tree line.
But in general, you can view a Super Moon right from your own yard.
You can also use binoculars or a telescope to view the moon in more detail.
But some astronomers say the full moon is their least favorite time — because there are none of the shadows that reveal the craters and contours on the moon’s surface.
Tips for hosting a Full Moon get-together
Lunar events are a fun reason to get a group of people together. You can hang out together outside, and enjoy the show, courtesy of Mother Nature.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Pick a place where you have a good view of the night sky.
- Set up comfortable lawn chairs (recliners are best!) or spread out picnic blankets where guests can lie back for skygazing.
- You don’t need a crowd! It’s fine to share the experience with just one or two other people, for a peaceful and calming evening.
- Set the mood with music, candles, or lanterns.
- Dress for the weather. Skygazing in winter is a lot of fun when you’re bundled up and cozy.
- Plan for mosquitoes. In the warm months, you may want to have bug spray or citronella torches on hand, and to cover up exposed skin.
- Plan around a theme. If you want to go all out, you can use the moon’s seasonal nickname to suggest a theme for snacks, drinks, decorations, etc. For example, how about strawberry daquiris in June?
The full moon names
- January – Wolf Moon
- February – Snow Moon
- March – Worm Moon
- April – Pink Moon
- May – Flower Moon
- June – Strawberry Moon
- July – Buck Moon
- August – Sturgeon Moon
- September – Harvest Moon (or Corn Moon)
- October- Hunter’s Moon (or Harvest Moon)
- November – Beaver Moon
- December – Cold Moon
Fun Fact about the Harvest Moon:
September’s full moon is usually known as the Harvest Moon — because it is typically the full moon closest to the date of the Autumnal Equinox. However, if the October full moon happens to occur closer to the equinox than September’s, then it is granted the name of Harvest Moon, and the September full moon is called the Corn Moon.
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What is a Blue Moon?
In Atlanta, we had a rare blue super moon on August 30, 2023.
The next blue moon won’t occur till 2037!
A “blue moon” does not actually appear blue.
Instead, it’s a figure of speech, referring to the second full moon in a calendar month.
We say “once in a blue moon” because that second occurrence doesn’t happen very often.
According to Britannica, a Blue Moon occurs on average once every 33 months, 41 times in a century, or about seven times every 20 years. It’s extremely rare for there to be two Blue Moons in the same calendar year — happening on average only four times per century!