The full moon for August 2011 (Sturgeon Moon, Dog Days’ Moon, etc.) occurred during the afternoon hours of August 13 (2:57 p.m. to be precise) for East Coast observers, so I did my usual day-before-just-in-case-the-day-after-doesn’t-work photo, and I’m glad I did. The “night” of the full moon, the 13th, was much stormier and less conducive to photos than the night of the 12th, despite the very brief window I had on Friday (only about 5 minutes in the clear).
Here, then, is a snapshot in haste of August 2011’s 18-hours-before-full moon:
You can see how the western edge of the moon isn’t completely “full”; there’s still a little hint of the terminator (sunrise) line over there obscuring that limb; Grimaldi is the last “obvious” crater over there (actually a basin over 200 km in diameter); you can just barely make out some other craters right on the limb, which is angled fairly well away from us at this point by the moon’s libration. It’s a bit odd, because on the eastern limb, you can clearly see Mare Marginis, and Mare Smythii, which is rather far around that side, can also be seen poking its head around, although my libration tables show that it’s only about a 4° E and 4° S libration at this point. I’m not sure why we can see so much of that eastern limb right now. It might just be that the past few years of full moons (since Dec 2009) have had mostly W libration at full, and so even this minimal eastern limb seems extreme to me…
Here’s the complete gallery of full or nearly-full moons; one per month since December 2009.