Sunday, November 20, 2016

Not Quite Super Duper

The full moon of November 14, 2016 occurred almost at perigee (within two hours), which made it the closest full moon since January 26th, 1948. The full moon won't be this close again until 2034.

Alas, I did not see the moon at perigee, which occurred at sunrise on the 14th (my friend Jerry did, and got this shot, which was also an APOD).

Rather, I shot the not quite full moon at moon rise the evening prior.

A group of us went to Whitesbog, in New Jersey's Brendan Byrne State Forest, for an evening stroll around the bogs. I quickly found a spot and setup my camera while the rest of the group continued their walk.

As I waited a small group gathered, curious about the "Super Moon". We passed the time discussing orbital mechanics and atmospheric scattering of light.

We had a very clear sky on both horizons and we were able to spot the moon as it rose beyond trees.

The clear skies also resulted in a "Belt of Venus", the purple and grey colors of the sky.

It was nice to see so many people out because of the buzz about the 'super moon', excited about the natural world, but none of these phenomena are unique to this particular moonrise.


The term "super moon" was coined by astrologers who continue to fool themselves and others while peddling pseudo-scientific BS of no value. And it was quickly picked up by an attention grabbing media and populace with little interest in depth of understanding and short attention spans. And while images that show the smallest and largest full moons side by side do show a significant size difference, most full moons are not at these extremes, and few people would be able to tell the difference.

So don't wait for a 'super moon' to get out and enjoy the full moon. Whitesbog, where I shot these images, even has a monthly full moon night hike, on the Saturday evening closest to full moon. But you need not go anywhere, as all you need is clear skies and the curiosity to go outside and look up.

Good viewing.

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