I hope that some of you will be taking a few minutes this evening to head outside and glance up at the Moon. Not only is tonight a “Super Moon” but depending where you are, you may find the Moon taking on a red hue due to a lunar eclipse.
For tonight’s event, those around the Pacific rim are best located to see the lunar eclipse. On the east coast of North America you might spot the start of the eclipse as the Moon sets in the early morning.
Even if you are not in a favorable spot, take the time to look at the Moon. There’s this timeless element to it, knowing that it’s been there for millions of years and will continue to be there for many more.
It is also accessible to everyone, no matter how light polluted your sky happens to be.
The best way to see the Moon is with nothing else but your two eyes. Resist the urge to attempt a photo with your phone. That will only end in frustrations. All photographs of the Moon are heavily processed because it’s very hard for a camera to handle both the brightness of a full Moon and the black of the nuit sky, or the glowing halo shining through the thin clouds. And when you do get the brightness under control, all the subtle details of the Moon’s surface is lost. Your eyes are better equipped to handle the large range of brightness and the resolution to really enjoy the sight.
Making diner and notice that it’s getting dark outside and there’s not a cloud in the sky. Wait! What time does the Moon rise? 4:54pm it should already be 5 degrees in the sky. Run to the front of the house and look out the door, but no Moon. Hmmm… maybe I’m too low and the houses across the street are blocking the view. Head up one floor and look out the bedroom window! Ah there it is. OK kids, who wants to go see the SuperMoon! I grab my camera as my kids run for their boots and jacket. I figure that from the street corner I should have a good line of sight. Once there I ask my son to hold his arms up in the air as if grabbing the moon. I need to get down pretty low on my knees to get everything lined up. After a few repeated instructions to open or close his hands, to which he responds with a “Are you done yet!” I take a few long exposures under the street lamps. No tripod so 1/8sec and ISO 800 it is. Then took a few more of just the Moon with shorter exposures to avoid causing the Moon to become saturated (1/200sec ISO200)
A bit of photo editing and the end result.
November 13th 2016 Full Moon – just ahead of the Super Moon.
Lots of talk in the last week about the upcoming SuperMoon on November 14th. While it will be the closest and largest Full Moon since 1948, the differences won’t be that significant. It’ll look just like any other Full Moon, one that happens every month. Nothing special will happen to the solar system or the Earth.
However it’s a good opportunity to experiment with your camera and composition as the Moon is rising over the Horizon. Play around with different settings and different lens. You can even spend the day before scouting a good spot with view to the East.
Don’t need dark skies. Don’t need a special mount or stand. This is astro-photography accessible to all.
Welcome to a journey into our Universe with Dr Dave, amateur astronomer and astrophotographer for over 40 years. Astro-imaging, image processing, space science, solar astronomy and public outreach are some of the stops in this journey!