A stunning supermoon is expected to illuminate our skies tonight, in a rare astronomical event that will not occur again until September 2024.
The so-called ‘Harvest Moon’ is scheduled to shine brightly immediately after the sun sets at 18.45 BST, signalling the end of September.
It is the last of four supermoons in 2023, including two in July that will not be seen again for another 14 years.
Supermoons occur when a full moon roughly coincides with its ‘perigee’ distance from Earth of 221,484 miles (356,445km).
‘[This occurs] when there is a full moon at the moment when the moon is closest to the Earth,’ says University of Warwick astronomy professor Don Pollacco.
As a result, the Moon may appear larger (by 10-15%) and brighter (by 25-30%) than a “normal” full moon.
‘This is due to the Earth’s atmosphere, as well as an optical illusion, such as seeing the moon near to woods.’
Supermoons occur three to four times a year, as opposed to monthly full moons.
The name of this month’s Harvest, or Corn, Moon is thought to be derived from rural communities that collected crops at the conclusion of summer.
Fortunately, the supermoon will be large and bright enough to see with the naked eye from anywhere in the country tonight.
Though this is mostly weather dependent, avoiding cloudy regions with high light pollution is advised.
Binoculars may also come in help if you want to get a close look at the lunar surface.