Saturday, March 19, 2011

'Supermoon' rising this weekend

As the sun sets in the west on Saturday, the biggest, brightest moon in about 20 years will be begin peeking over the Eastern horizon.

The so-called "supermoon" will appear about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than normal, according to NASA.

Because the moon's orbit is oval, there is a point where it is the closest to the Earth, known as its perigee. The farthest point is known as its apogee.

On Saturday, the moon's closest perigee of the year happens to occur within one hour of the monthly astronomical phase of the full moon, which together will create the rarely seen spectacle of illumination and size, said Geoff Chester, an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C.

"It will be the closest full moon we've had since 1993, so if you want to wait another 19 years or so for your next crack at it, then do so," Chester said. "But it's a great excuse to go out and look at the moon."

Those who hope to maximize their viewing experience should set their sights on the distant horizon with objects, like mountains or buildings, in the foreground. As the moon rises behind those objects, it creates an optical illusion that makes it appear even bigger to the naked eye, Chester said.

"I often say the moon is looked over and overlooked. People don't take that much time out of their busy lives to appreciate it," Chester said. "It's an extraordinary thing."

However moon-gazers in the Los Angeles area may be out of luck, as rainstorms will begin working their way into the region late Friday and through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. With a 40% chance of rain in the evening, the clouds may obscure even a giant shining moon.


  1. I hope you guys catch this post before tonight. I know Ron will bring his Bigma out for this, and please use the tripod. If you use the ND filter for this, you can set on S mode, and take multible expose on different shutter speed. On my ND filter 6 stops, I think I will set at 1 sec. to 2.5sec.
    Good Luck!

  2. What? No picture? I saw the moon last night while I was working and I actually thought about getting my camera AND tripod to take some shots with the bigma but then I said, nah, I'll just wait until tomorrow.

    Well tomorrow is today and now it's cloudy so I may have missed my chance. I'm still taking the camera with me to work tonight just in case we get a break in the clouds.

    Hopefully one of you other shooters will have a better chance at it than me. I guess that's what I get for procrastinating!!

  3. Well I goofed up last night as well. It's 5:40 PM now with full cloud cover. So I might not get the opportunity either.

    19 years or so till the next one??? WHEW!! I'm 65 now! Anyone care to make odds on this one? Be careful how you place your bets boys, because I'm going for it!!!

  4. I'll take odds that you'll still be around, you may not be able to carry a tripod but you'll still be around!

    Maybe they will have a tripod mount on one of those little scotters by then! LOL

  5. Sorry no Super Moon here on the West Coast tonight... Looking forward to seeing everyone elses pictures though!

  6. Two nice frames 'Q'. You really captured the mood of the evening in the last pic. Excellent! The lighted fountains in the lake plus the tree line added a great touch.

  7. You guys are fast! I haven't even got my images off the camera yet!

    Nice shots Q! I'm with Parker, really like the bottom photo a lot.


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