Closest perigee for the moon this year

Moon, two days before full. August 29, 2012, 10 p.m. EDT.

Isn’t that a whole lot easier to say than “Supermoon”? But seriously, if you want to know what’s happening with this Sunday morning’s full moon, the best article I’ve seen in a while is over at Sky and Telescope’s website.

The moon will appear about 7% larger than the average full moon, because it’s going to be—get this—7% closer to us. 357 061 km, instead of the “average” 384 402 km.

It will appear more than 7% brighter, though, because brightness varies with the square of the distance. So, (384,4022 − 357,0612) / 384,4022 × 100 = 13% brighter.

If […]

October 2012 full moon

October 28. 2012 Full moon

The Hunter’s moon rises nearly or completely full over three successive nights at nearly the same time each night. On Eastern Daylight Time this year, the nights of the 27th, 28th, and 29th, at 5:21, 5:57, and 6:35, respectively. Full moon is today at 3:50 p.m. EDT, but this shot was taken last night right around 10 p.m.

It was relatively far away (402 000 km), and the libration was a little over 4 degrees both east (eastern limb tilted toward Earth) and south (southern limb tilted toward Earth). With the eastern tilt, you can just barely make […]

September 2012 full moon: the birthday edition!

September 29, 2012 Full moon

The 2012 harvest moon occurs tonight at 11:19 p.m. EDT. Only 395,493 km from Earth tonight. Libration, as you can see, is quite southern (see how far the bright crater Tycho is from the bottom edge?), and a bit of the eastern limb is more visible as well (if you know your selenography, you can make out the bright pixels representing Gibbs almost dead center on the right-hand limb).

As you can see, I’m still working on the focus problems; the low clouds that make the slight haze around the moon are out of my control, but I […]

Full moon in August

August 30. 2012 Full moon

The second full moon in August (well, about 12 hours before full). I found my digiscope camera!

Despite what the Clear Sky Clock for Boca Raton says, this evening had nothing but high clouds and haze overhead, so while the naked eye views through the eyepiece were steady and beautiful, the camera view was a bit more obscured. Oh, well.

August’s moons: blue or not?

This year and next year, the month of August will bring you the two different definitions of the term blue moon. As you know, every 2.7 years the twelve months of the calendar feature thirteen full moons. There are only twelve full moon names, though, so when a “year” has thirteen moons, you have to decide how to name that “extra” moon. (I’ll explain why I put the word year in quotes later.)

As a culture, we’ve collectively decided that such extra moons shall be called blue:

Whoops! Wrong kind. Here’s the kind I’m actually talking about:


Ful Moon, January 2012

January 8, 2012 Full moon

Tonight’s moon is the Ice (NeoPagan), Winter (Colonial American), Old (English), Quiet (Celtic), or Wolf (Wiccan) moon. Here in south Florida, with a night-time low of nearly 65°, the only ice I could fine was in my water, and it melted pretty darn fast. But it makes for “easy” imaging, unless you’ve got clouds and haze to deal with. But there’s usually a hole or two through which to shoot, and if you’re patient, you can get a decent image:

Distance from Earth was about 387 400 km, about midway between this month’s perigee (369 882, on the […]

December 2011 full moon

December 2011 Full Moon

The full moon for December 2011 (variously known as the Long Night Moon, Bitter Moon, Cold Moon, Christmas Moon, etc.) was not easy to find here in Boca, blanketed as we were under clouds and buffeted by winds. But for a few brief moments the night after the day’s full moon (9:36 a.m. local time, so not above the horizon), the moon was in the clear. The low clouds were scudding by in the fairly stiff breezes, and that must have affected the seeing, because I never did get a clear shot. But here is the one I got, to […]

Hunter’s Moon 2011

October 11, 2011 Full moon

October’s full moon this year, the Hunter’s moon, occurred at 10:06 p.m. EDT, about 9 hours before it reached apogee (Oct 12 7:44 a.m. EDT, distance 406 434 km). Local conditions here in south Florida were a bit of a challenge; I had to set up under clouds and hope for a break in the clouds near the time of full moon, which is when I wanted to take the picture. After all, it isn’t often that the moon is exactly full at a convenient time for picture-taking.

Some things fell in my favor: I had completed my field battery […]

Full Moon August 2011

August 12, 2011 Full moon

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 […]

May’s full moon: Milk Moon

May 16, 2011 Full moon

Last night’s/this morning’s full moon, as seen from our Boca backyard:

If you think this version is fuzzy, you should see the version after I “corrected” the focus! In the application file, the image is bright, but the highlights aren’t blown out. When I view the image in the browser, the highlights are blown. Wonder what the difference is? Same file, after all…

At all events, it was good to be out under the moon again. Tuesday night’s moon was on the rise as I was on my way home from the native plant society meeting (propagation workshop); […]