The beauty of an unusually large Supermoon rising in the early evening desert skies. Credit: Stefan Seip
Be prepared to be mooned this weekend, in fact get ready to be supermooned! This Saturday night, all across Australia, the Moon will be a little bigger and a little brighter than normal, meaning we’re in for what’s called a ‘supermoon.’
The supermoon is a rare sight that doesn’t happen very often but when it does you’ll want to make sure you’re outside of your house and ready to check out just how breathtakingly beautiful it looks in the night sky.
A ‘Super Moon’ occurs at the time in the moon’s orbit when it’s closest to Earth, a mere 361,863 kilometres. Not only will the moon be full, it will also look slightly larger when rising early evening and somewhat brighter. All full moons bring higher than usual tides but if you’re going fishing during the supermom watch for ‘King Tides.’
The term supermoon name actually originated from the studies of modern astrology. A supermoon can appear as much as 14 percent larger in the sky and 20 percent brighter to our eyes than normal. Despite the claims of some people around the world, the supermoon will not destroy the Earth. Nor will it turn you into a lunatic.
Hey, with thenice full Moon on Saturday night it’s a good opportunity to take a photograph of it. There’s something magical about those pictures of the moonlight sky and dazzling stars, they convey a special something that daytime photos can’t.
You’ll need a tripod to hold the camera completely still for clear pics OK. A shutter release cable is handy too. Bracket your shots, up to a couple of seconds, but not to long to avoid background stars having ‘tails’ on them. Never use a flash! Take several shots at different speeds and see which gives the best exposure.
Got a smart phone? You can hand hold it over the eyepiece and careful aiming might get you a few nice moon shots. Email them to yourself. It’s the best way to build up experience and collect a good number of moon ‘selfies.’
Here’s a cool tip. Download an amazing free app called ‘Sky View. Simply point your smartphone to anything in the night sky and it will tell you what it is. Ask, and it will find planets, stars and constellations for you in a matter of moments, plus its got tons of interesting facts and figures on astronomy. Want some more free stuff? Head on over to my website www.davidreneke.com and download a whole range of fact sheets and free e-books on astronomy.