When is The Full Moon in September? The Harvest Full SuperMoon 2023
Last Updated: September 19, 2023
The upcoming full Moon in September will grace our night sky on Friday 29 2023, at 5:55 AM EDT or 9:55 AM UTC. During this particular phase of its lunar cycle, the Moon will have aged 13.65 days, offering an almost perfect illumination of 99.48%.
With a tilt angle of 89.197°, our natural satellite will be located approximately 360,513.70 km away from Earth. This equates to about 224,012.82 miles, or roughly 0.00240 Astronomical Units (AU). This means the Moon will only be about 0.3% away from its average perigee distance (closest distance from Earth), so it will earn the title of supermoon!
In terms of light travel time, this distance corresponds to approximately 0.0200 light minutes. In the realm of astrology, the Moon will align with the sign of Pisces on this day. This full Moon is the fourth supermoon of this summer season and the fourth and last one this year as well.
Countdown to the September Full Moon
September Full Moon Stargazing Information
The Moon’s magnitude, a measure of its brightness, will be -12.78. In astronomical terms, a lower value signifies a brighter object, which means the Moon will be exceptionally bright during this event.
The terms Ra/Dec refer to the Moon’s position in the sky, known as Right Ascension (Ra) and Declination (Dec). These coordinates will be 00h 11m15.6s and -01°31’14.9″, respectively, corresponding to the celestial longitude and latitude.
Similarly, the terms Az/Alt denote the Moon’s azimuth and altitude, which represent the Moon’s direction and height from the horizon, respectively. These will be 257°31’25.8″ for the azimuth and +06°53’48.9″ for the altitude.
The Moon will have an apparent diameter of 33 arcminutes and 02 arcseconds, so even though it will be quite enjoyable to the naked eye, observing it with a basic set of binoculars or a small telescope, will allow for a detailed exploration of its surface features if using a lunar filter. It might be too bright otherwise.
- Moonlight intensity: Vey High
- Moonlight shadows: Strong
- Culmination time: location dependent
- Moonrise time: location dependant
- Moonset time: location dependent
- Supermoon? Yes
- Micromoon? No
- Blue moon? No
- Lunar Eclipse: No
- Conjunctions? None
Nearby night sky objects:
The Moon will be located in between Cetus and Pisces constellations. There will be no notable deep-sky objects in this area of the sky at this time.
Why is the Full Moon in September called the Harvest/Corn Moon?
The moon occurring closest to the Autumnal (Fall) Equinox is traditionally referred to as the Full Harvest Moon. It comes in September in most years, but every 4-5 years, it falls in October.
At the peak of the harvest, farmers can work into the night by the light of this full moon. The moon usually rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, it seems to rise at nearly the same time each night (25-30 minutes later each night across the U.S. and only 10-20 minutes later for much of Canada and Europe).
Seasonal and chief staples of the Native Americans like corn, squash, beans, and wild rice would be ready for gathering and the full moon provided a reliable nightly harvesting time when it was needed most. Many cultures around the world celebrate the Harvest Moon. In Japan, “tsukumi” literally means “looking at the Moon” but is often used for the tradition of viewing the Harvest Moon. Koreans call it “chuseok” and the Mid-Autumn Festival in China is similar.
In 2023, the September full moon is the Harvest Moon.
If the September full moon is not the Harvest Moon, it is called the Corn Moon as this is the time when crops are gathered from the summer season. Celtic and Old English names include the Wine Moon, Song Moon, and the Barley Moon for similar reasons. In China, it is known as the Chrysanthemum Moon.
Related reading: The Meaning Behind the 12 Full Moon Names
Observing this Harvest Full Moon with astronomical equipment
The Moon offers a variety of interesting features that you can observe, even with modest equipment. The Moon is without a doubt the easiest celestial object to observe with a backyard telescope or a pair of astronomical binoculars.
The Moon can shine a rather bright light when it is full so the use of a special lunar filter can help improve your view of the Moon. This is an additional component that reduces the amount of light coming into the telescope, making it easier to see the details without being blinded.
It essentially works much like ‘sunglasses’ for your telescope. It reduces glare and improves contrast, allowing you to see more detail. The filter threads into the bottom of an eyepiece, so it’s easy to add or remove as needed.
A smaller aperture telescope (60mm to 80mm) can provide good views of the Moon. You’ll be able to see a decent amount of detail, including larger craters and lunar maria.
Medium aperture telescopes (around 100mm to 150mm) will give you a much better view, revealing many more features and allowing you to see smaller craters and other details.
With large aperture telescopes (200mm and above), that’s where the magic happens! You’ll see more detailed views of the edges of lunar maria, where they meet the highlands.You’ll be able to discern more subtle color differences in the lunar surface as well as mountain ranges casting subtle shadows on the lunar surface. You might be able to see hints of the lunar domes, which are gentle, rounded mounds thought to be the remnants of ancient lunar volcanoes.
Be sure to choose the correct eyepiece as it will greatly influence your field of view at the eyepiece. Try my field of view calculator to determine the best eyepiece for your lunar observations.
Planning your lunar observation with Stellarium
Stellarium is a free open-source planetarium for your computer that shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars, or a telescope. It’s one of my favourite stargazing applications. I use it on a weekly basis and it’s super easy to use.
Here is a step-by-step guide to using it for timing your observation of the upcoming harvest full Moon:
- Set Your Location: Open https://stellarium-web.org/ into your internet browser. In order to find accurate rise and set times for the Moon, you need to set your geographic location. Click on the “Location Window” button on the left toolbar. In the window that pops up, search for your city in the “Search” field, then click on your city’s name in the list. This sets your location.
- Set the right time: Stellarium can show you the sky at any time, past, present, or future. To get the full Moon time, which in September will be the 29th, you need to click on the “Date/time window” button on the bottom right of the screen. You can also manually adjust the time by hours and minutes and see the sky move before your eyes.
- Locate the Moon: Now, you need to find the Moon in the sky. You can do this by using the search function. Click on the “Search Window” button on the centre top of screen. Type “Moon” into the search field and press enter. The view should now center on the Moon.
- Check Moonrise and Moonset Times: Once the Moon is centered, an information box should pop up on the upper left corner of the screen. This box will provide various details, including the moonrise and moonset times for the chosen day.
Dates & Times for the other Moon phases in September
Besides the full moon, there are seven other major phases in the lunar cycle: the new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, waning gibbous, last quarter, and waning crescent. Each of these phases presents a unique view of the moon and contributes to the lunar cycle that we observe from Earth.
- Last Quarter on Wednesday, 06 September 2023 at 22:21 UTC
- New Moon on Friday, 15 September 2023 at 01:39 UTC
- First Quarter on Friday, 22 September 2023 at 19:31 UTC
The next harvest/corn full Moon will take place on Tuesday September 17 2024 at 10:31 PM EDT / 2:31 AM UTC.
Lunar Luminosity: the full Moon’s light influence on the world
The full Moon has a few notable influences on Earth:
- Tides: The gravitational pull of the Moon causes the Earth’s oceans to bulge out in the direction of the Moon.
- Light: A full Moon provides significant natural light at night, which can affect nocturnal animals’ behavior and plant life.
- Floral behaviours: Some species of plants, such as the Ephedra foeminea (also known as werewolf plant) releases its pollen in sync with the full Moon.
- Human behavior: There have been many theories on how the full Moon may affect humans differently, whether it be our sleep pattern, our cardiovascular system, menstruation cycles, and our mood and mental health. However, despite much scientific research that has been done in the last ten years, scientists have not been able to prove the effects of the full Moon on human psychology or behavior.
Full Moon celebrations around the world
The full Moon has been a significant cultural symbol and theme throughout human history, appearing in myths, legends, superstitions, and rituals across the globe. In Thailand, the full Moon is celebrated every month during the infamous full Moon party.
In Sri Lanka, each full Moon day is a public holiday, known as Poya. Each Poya has its own name and is associated with Buddhist events. These days, people often go to the temple for religious observances.
In Wiccan traditions, an Esbat is a ritual observance of the full Moon. It’s a time for meditation, divination, and spellwork that align with the peak of the Moon’s energy.
In China, the Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is celebrated during the full Moon of the 8th lunar month (usually September). Families gather to admire the Moon, eat mooncakes, and in some regions, light lanterns.
If you know of any more celebrations that should be added to this list, let me know in the comment.
How dull would our night sky be without our natural satellite? Why not use this full moon as an opportunity to plan a lovely stargazing date with someone special in your life?
Past Full Moons This Year
- The January ‘Wolf” Full Moon
- The February ‘Snow’ Full Moon
- The March ‘Worm” Full Moon
- The April ‘Pink” Full Moon
- The May ‘Flower” Full Moon
- The June ‘Strawberry’ Full Moon
- The July ‘Buck’ Full Moon
- The August ‘Sturgeon’ Full Moon