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 […]

Equinox moon with rays


On the morning of the equinox, as I was fruitlessly attempting to capture an image of Mars near the waning crescent moon, I did manage to create a small mystery for myself with the digiscoped image of that crescent moon:

This is Day 25 of the lunar cycle, which means there are only 4 days until new moon, so there isn’t a whole heck of a lot to look at in this picture. From top to bottom, the most prominent features are the sunlit craters Pythagoras and Babbage (the latter has sunken walls and a prominent crater overlying […]

(Easter) Egg Moon

April 18, 2011 Full moon

Having a five-week old in the house guarantees that if you need to be awake at night to do something, say, take pictures of the full moon, you’ve got a pretty good chance. Of being awake, that is. Staying awake long enough to put the baby to sleep, get downstairs and outside with your camera and spotting scope, well, that’s another story. But Sunday night/Monday morning I was able to pull it off, and here is the result:

As usual, click on the image to see a larger version.

I had missed the official moment of full by […]

Lunar eclipse on the solstice


A rare celestial event occurred early this morning, so I thought I’d try my hand at capturing some images. I spent about an hour making sure my telescope mount was as close to polar aligned as I could make it. I balanced the heavy scope on the tube and aligned the spotting scope, the one through which I would be taking the images, with the main scope, so the computerized alignment would proceed smoothly. I took a few practice shots of the full moon about 5 hours before the event would occur:

For some reason I wasn’t able […]

Dog Days Moon

The moon goes by many different names. Here are the moon names for August according to MoonPhase, one of my favorite lunar apps for my iPod (and iPad, but I’m consulting the iPod version because Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless drained the battery last night and didn’t plug it in so it’s recharging from the wall charger):

August (Calendar Month) Dog Days (in Colonial American parlance) Sturgeon (Algonquin, which was the basis for the Farmers’ Almanac moon names) Grain (English) Dispute (Celtic) Wyrt (Medieval wiccan) Lightning (Neo pagan).

Whatever you call it, it happens today at 1:05 p.m. EDT. And […]

Summer Moon

It’s been said so often, and not just by those who dabble in astronomy, but perhaps especially often among those who do: patience is a virtue. After waiting up two hours past my normal bedtime for the summer moon to come out from behind the clouds, she finally did:

Last night’s insurance photo, all warm and fuzzy as it is, really isn’t in the same league. Part of the issue, I’m convinced, is that if I’ve already been asleep, I have a much harder time coaxing focus into my eyes. And on a difficult subject like the full […]

Warm and fuzzy moon

This morning at 2 a.m. it was still over 80 degrees outside, and, it being 2 a.m. and all, I found it hard to focus. Not just mentally. Literally. See the picture below if you doubt me.

Summer Moon, 25 July, 2010, 2:10 a.m. EDT.

What we have here is a fuzzy shot of the Summer Moon, taken on a warm and sleepless night here in south Florida. I only took the shot because I couldn’t get back to sleep after giving Eric his middle-night bottle (he’s sick. again. and needs his comfort food), for fear that tonight’s Summer […]

Full moon for June

Friday night/Saturday morning, I decided to put my 2 a.m. wakeup call* to good use and get a shot of the moon at close to full. Backyard astronomy at its best!

The house is nice and cool these days, thanks to the a/c man and my suddenly light bank account, and the contrast between the cool and dry indoors and the hot and muggy out of doors was intense, even at 2:25 a.m. I thought I’d entered a sauna just by opening the door to the Florida room! There was a deep mist in the air, but not too dense; […]

Full moon for May

Here at long last is last month’s shot of the near full moon. Time, weather, and energy permitting, I’m still committed to posting at least one shot of each month’s full moon in 2010.

Depending on your browser, you can either click on the image, or mouse over the area to the right of the image, in order to see the caption/description. (In my browser, Safari for Mac, clicking on the image brings up a new window with a “full size” version. Full size in quotes, because I reduced it to 1200 pixels wide just to make it […]

March's full moon

Jet lag from a recent trip to India combined with a cloudy night to make the blurry shot below the best one I could get of the full moon closest to the March equinox. Oh, well. Here, for the record, is the full moon from March 30, 2010, at 2:52 a.m.:

now, to compare it to December, January and February’s full moons, so we can see any libration effects:

Ignoring my poor alignment skills, you can see that Mare Crisium in March is much farther from the visible limb of the moon […]