Harvest moon 2023 rising over Texas tonight. Here’s what to know

By SARAH BAHARI | Dallas Morning News

Take note, amateur astronomers: The final supermoon of 2023 will rise over Texas on Friday.

September’s full moon, known as the harvest moon, rises tonight and will appear bigger and brighter than usual. It should reach peak illumination shortly before 5 a.m.

Here’s what you need to know:

What is a supermoon?

A supermoon occurs when the moon’s orbit is closest to Earth at the same time the moon is full, according to NASA, resulting in some of the best moon-viewing. Supermoons occur three to four times a year.

At its closest point, the full moon can appear up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the faintest moon of the year, which occurs when it is farthest from Earth in its orbit, according to NASA. Even though 14% doesn’t make a big difference in detectable size, a full supermoon is a bit brighter than other moons throughout the year.

It’s not always easy to detect a supermoon, but it does affect Earth, NASA says. Because the moon is in its closest approach to Earth, it can cause higher tides than usual.

This is the year’s last supermoon; the others were July 3, Aug. 1 and Aug. 30.

Why is it called a harvest moon?

This particular supermoon is tied to the fall equinox. The supermoon closest to the fall equinox is dubbed the harvest moon. It doesn’t always fall in September, though. If a full moon in October is closer, it assumes the title of harvest moon, and the September moon becomes “corn moon.”

How do moons get their names?

Moons are named by the Old Farmer’s Almanac, which gives names based on Native American, colonial American and European folklore.

What comes next?

A hunter’s moon, which always follows the harvest moon, will rise Oct. 28. That name is believed to originate from when the moon signaled to hunters to prepare for the upcoming winter by going hunting, as animals were beginning to fatten up for the winter season, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Also in the sky

Not to be outdone, the sun will show off with the annular “ring of fire” solar eclipse Oct. 14. It will be visible across eight states, including Texas. It will appear around 11:41 a.m. along the Texas-New Mexico border and travel southeast across Texas.