HomeScience & TechHow to see ‘unique’ Hunter’s Full Moon tonight

How to see ‘unique’ Hunter’s Full Moon tonight

This months full moon, known as the Hunter’s Moon, is set to peak on Wednesday, offering skygazers a “unique” opportunity to see an autumnal moonrise.

The full moon comes less than a month after the autumn equinox, meaning the lunar orbit is more ecliptic than usual.

This phenomenon results in the full moon rising at around sunset in northerly latitudes, providing a colourful backdrop for the moonrise.

EarthSky magazine notes that “nature is particularly cooperative” around this time of year for the Harvest and Hunter’s moons, making “the fall full moonrises unique”.

The proximity of the Moon to the horizon as it rises may make it appear orange, as the light reflecting off it from the Sun has to pass through more of the Earth’s atmosphere before it reaches our eyes on the ground.

The Moon will also appear bigger than usual at this position in the sky due to an optical illusion known as the Moon Illusion.

This is where the brain is tricked into thinking that the Moon is larger when compared with the relative size of objects on the horizon, such as buildings and trees.

The exact science behind it remains unclear, with Nasa explaining that it is to do with the way we visually perceive the world.

“There’s some thinking that objects in the foreground of your lunar view play a role,” the US space agency explained in a blog post.

“But this isn’t a perfect explanation. Nasa astronauts in orbit also see the Moon Illusion, and they have no foreground object to act as distance clues. So there’s likely more going on.”

The Hunter’s Moon will peak on Wednesday, 20 October, at 3.57pm BST, but will appear full on both Tuesday and Wednesday night.

The best time to see the next full moon in the UK will be on Wednesday, shortly after sunset, though weather conditions may not be ideal in certain parts of the country.

According to the Met Office, the weather will be “windy, unsettled and changeable with many areas seeing showers or longer spells of rain at times, including some thundery showers for parts of England and Wales” on Wednesday.

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