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September's Supermoon Is the Last One for a Year

Bask beneath the supermoon's glow while you can!

By Cassidy Ward

Throughout history, people have looked up at the Moon with a fierce sense of curiosity and wonder. Tens of thousands of years of longing eventually led us to the surface of the Moon, and back again one day soon. Our love affair with the Moon, it seems, is still going strong. In Wolf Like Me (streaming now on Peacock), however, the Moon is a source of danger and fear.

When Gary (Josh Gad) and his pre-teen daughter Emma (Ariel Donaghue) meet standoffish neighbor Mary (Isla Fisher) it seems clear she wants nothing to do with them, despite a clear connection with Emma. Turns out, Mary has a good reason for keeping to herself: she’s a werewolf.

RELATED: Peacock Howls Up Second Season Of 'Wolf Like Me' Starring Isla Fisher & Josh Gad

It’s hard to have an ordinary life or build relationships when you’re a werewolf (Moonlight strolls are tough, and letting the Moon hit your eye like a big pizza pie... out of the question!), especially when the regular lunar cycle drops a full Moon on you every few weeks. And if the effect has anything to do with the Moon’s proximity to Earth or its apparent brightness, then a supermoon would be a werewolf’s worst nightmare. Fortunately for the werewolves out there (though not for Moon watching enthusiasts), September’s upcoming supermoon will be the last one of the year.

The Last of 2023's Three Supermoons

It's only fair after the embarrassment of lunar riches that was August 2023 that things should taper down. August offered two supermoons in a single calendar month, something which won’t happen again for another 14 years.

The next supermoon, and the last of the year, will occur on September 29. The September full Moon is commonly called the Harvest Moon, even when it’s not super, because of its proximity to the autumnal equinox.

NASA image of the full moon

What makes a full Moon super is how close it is to the Earth when it happens. We often think of orbits as perfectly circular, but most of the time they aren’t. Instead, you get slightly squashed elliptical orbits which carry planets and moons a little farther or a little closer to the star or planet they’re orbiting as they circle around.

At the Moon’s farthest point (apogee), it’s roughly 405,000 kilometers (251,000 miles) from the Earth. At the nearest point of its orbit (perigee), it’s 360,000 kilometers (224,000 miles) away. A supermoon happens when the full Moon falls at or near lunar perigee, when the Moon is roughly 10% closer than apogee. The result is a Moon which appears approximately 14% larger and 30% brighter in the night sky.

If the werewolves are also 14% larger and 30% more intense, we’re all in a little bit of trouble. Fortunately, if we can survive this supermoon, we’re home free until September 2024.

Kick off the year of no supermoons with Wolf Like Me, streaming now on Peacock!