SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): The last supermoon of 2023 will make its appearance on Friday (Sept 29) evening, coinciding with the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Called the harvest moon, it will start rising at 7pm and be at a height which is easily visible in Singapore at around 9pm, said the Science Centre Observatory.
The lunar phenomenon occurs when the Moon’s orbit is closer to Earth, making the Moon appear larger and brighter than usual.
Open areas such as the Marina Barrage and East Coast Park are good spots to view the supermoon, said the observatory.
There are three to four supermoons in a year.
Earlier this year, the buck moon, the first of four supermoons in 2023, graced the night sky on July 3. The sturgeon moon was visible on Aug 1 and the blue moon on Aug 31, and many stargazers and photography enthusiasts shared their snapshots of these supermoons on social media.
Here are some interesting facts about the harvest moon.
1. How did the harvest moon get its name?
The harvest moon is the full moon which occurs closest to the autumn equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, marking the start of autumn, when traditionally farmers would harvest their crops.
The equinox occurs when the Sun crosses the celestial equator – which is a projection of Earth’s equator into space – from north to south.
During this period, the Moon rises earlier than in other months for several evenings.
Historically, farmers worked late into the night when the harvest moon was in the sky, using its light to help them reap the autumn harvest, earning the Moon its name.
2. What time will the harvest moon be visible?
The harvest moon will start rising at 7pm on Friday in the east. It will likely be high enough above the horizon from 9pm to be viewed, said the observatory.
The Astronomical Society of Singapore (Tasos) president, Soh Kim Mun, said those who wish to photograph moonrise at dusk should face the east.
“In the early morning on Saturday, the Moon will be best captured at the western horizon,” he added.
3. Where are the best places to view the harvest moon in Singapore?
The harvest moon will be easily visible anywhere not obscured by clouds, said the observatory.
Besides open areas such as East Coast Park which offer an unobstructed view, the Southern Ridges can provide an elevated view of the Moon against a backdrop of the city skyline.
Those who plan to observe the Moon with a telescope should do so with a neutral density filter, which protects the eyes against glare, said Soh.
A group of more than 20 society members from Tasos will gather to observe the Moon and celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival concurrently, said Soh.
The harvest moon usually makes its appearance around the time of the Mid-Autumn Festival, but not always on the same day, he said. “The harvest moon this year happens to appear during the Mid-Autumn Festival, so we can make it part of the festive celebration.”
The viewing event is exclusive to members of the society.
Those who want to join the society can go to its website at https://www.tasos.org.sg/