Wednesday, May 2, 2012

OMG! It's the SUPERMOON! The moon really is super, but...

We'll just say I'm cheating here a little bit, and am using this post to show some of my favorite moon photographs. The moon is so steeped in human psyche and mythology. It is one of those things that is with us all our lives, and is more dependable than food, shelter, or trust. It rises and falls like clockwork, and for centuries it was our clockwork, along with the sun and stars. It is as dependable as the tides, which makes sense, since it is a major cause of the tides.

And we take it for granted. We might go weeks without paying attention to it as we go about our daily lives. Honestly, unless you have seen a headline in the last few days, can you say what phase the moon is in right now? No looking...

If you have seen some headlines, the "supermoon" has arisen once again. The moon is going full on the weekend at the same moment that it is closest to the Earth. Reading the articles, one might expect that you'll be able to reach out and grab a piece of green cheese right off the surface. Like in the picture above, which I snapped on a long November journey across the Colorado Plateau (that's Black Mesa near Kayenta and Tuba City in the background).
In a case of full disclosure, here is how the moon really looked that night. A zoom lens is a wonderful tool! The moon will indeed be larger than normal this weekend...by about 14%. But a rising full moon is always a pretty sight, so I hope you will check it out.

It will look much bigger than normal as it rises above the horizon on Saturday. Philip Plait, the Bad Astronomer has provided a marvelous explanation of the optics of a big moon in this article, which I highly recommend.
From Goblin Valley, Utah
Have a great weekend. Share some great pictures if you get some!
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