Rare hunter's supermoon to light up night sky this weekend

If the black moon a few weeks ago didn't pique your interest, this weekend's hunter's moon may do the trick, with an added bonus: it's also a supermoon.

Best seen Saturday and Sunday night, the hunter's moon will light up the night sky with red and orange hues, and this year's supermoon status will only enhance the experience.

The hunter's moon arrives once a year after the harvest moon — the full moon closest to the autumn equinox. Normally, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, but with the hunter's moon that changes to 30 minutes, Universe Today says.

While a hunter's moon may appear bigger and brighter, the only difference is its orbit. Around the autumn equinox, the moon's orbit makes a narrower angle with the horizon.

As EarthSky explains, the hunter's moon appears redder because the atmosphere is thicker as you look to the horizon instead of up above in the night sky. And because the hunter's moon is a full moon, the red-orange illusion shines bright.

The glow from this year's hunter's moon will get an extra boost because it's also a supermoon, a phenomenon that occurs when the moon's orbit comes closer to Earth. The combination means those reds and oranges will beam even brighter.

This year's hunter's supermoon will orbit Earth at its closest point — known as perigee — Sunday night, according to EarthSky.

The term hunter's moon first appears in records in the 18th century, Universe Today notes. For hunters in the past, the moon provided important light as they captured food after the harvest and ahead of winter.

Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter @MILLERdfillmore


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