Sunset + (super?)moonrise on the Potomac River

20 03 2011

Michael and I ventured out to the Mount Vernon Parkway before 7:00 p.m. this evening to scout out a good spot to wait for the much-anticipated and much-heralded “Supermoon.” I’m sorry to have to report that I was a tiny bit disappointed. I confess that I was hoping for that end-of-the-world-large-encroaching-orb-could-swallow-us-whole-fodder-for-a-science-fiction-movie effect, but it didn’t happen.

Yes, it was a lovely moon—slightly larger than usual and a bit brighter. I guess I was expecting it to flood the horizon so fully that I would have to take off my Nikkor 80-400 zoom lens and put on the 50mm just to catch it all in my viewfinder. So large that I would hear audible gasps from the neighboring photographers, then perhaps we would spontaneously hold hands and break into song (Kumbaya, perhaps?). Didn’t happen.

The moon I photographed in Huntsville, Alabama a few years ago seemed a whole lot larger and a lumen or two brighter than tonight’s “Supermoon.” You can view that posting here. I was, however, taken in by the sunset’s show earlier.

Hey! Guess what? I was just ready to publish this post and decided to Google this search: “supermoon was disappointing tonight,” just to see if anyone had the same reaction that I did.

I found this on space.com: On Saturday night, the moon will arrive at perigee at 19:09 UT (3:09 p.m. Eastern Time). Its distance from the Earth at the moment will be 221,565 miles. But just over three years ago, on Dec. 12, 2008, which was also the night of a full moon, the moon reached perigee at 21:39 UT (4:39 p.m. Eastern Time) at a distance of 221,559 miles, about 6 miles closer than Saturday night’s perigee distance. So it seems Saturday night’s supermoon will actually be just a little less super than the full moon of Dec. 2008. (You can read skywatching columnist Joe Rao’s full article here.)

Why do I find this so interesting? Well, I photographed that moon near the Huntsville Airport in December 12, 2008! So my eyes (and my memory) did remember a more impressive sky that night than tonight. Unlike tonight, I wasn’t even hunting for it—my friend Sue had picked me up from the airport and I asked her to pull over so I could get a few shots of the spectacular moon! Who would have thought that the moon being only six miles closer to the earth would make such a noticeable difference?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.







December 12 Moon

17 12 2008

December 12 moon, photographed near the airport in Huntsville

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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December 11 moon

12 12 2008

Just in case I don’t get a chance to shoot the full moon tomorrow night (when it’s supposed to be at its brightest and the closest to Earth since 1993), here is tonight’s moon as seen from my parent’s backyard in the Lone Star state…best I could do with a 400mm lens. If I do get a chance to photograph Friday’s moon, it will be done from Sue’s yard in Huntsville, Alabama. Yes, this weekend I’m flitting off to a whole ‘nother state just to have tea on Sunday with Sue and her new southern friends—the plane ticket was a gift from Sue. Of course, I’m helping her decorate, and yes, I’m bringing my camera gear—so you know there will be photos of the soirée and whatever else I stumble upon!

I just saw her a few weeks ago when we were en route to Texas for Thanksgiving. We were delivering a painting for her new home. See that posting below:

https://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/12/01/alabama-cotton-field-under-a-virginia-sky/

National Geographic‘s website states that “although a full moon happens every month, the one that rises tomorrow will appear about 30 percent brighter and 14 percent larger than the other full moons seen so far this year. That’s because our cosmic neighbor will be much closer than usual. The moon will be at its closest perigee—the nearest it gets to Earth during its egg-shaped orbit around our planet.

In that same article, Ed Krupp, director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, states, “Typically we don’t have the full moon phase and perigee coinciding at the same time, so that makes this event particularly special.”

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.
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