November 13, 2016: Tonight is a crisp and clear evening in New Jersey, which gives me a great look at the "supermoon" that is dominating the night sky tonight. There are some reports that the peak view is today, and other reports that mention November 14th (tomorrow), but the clarification is that for those in North America, the moon appears more-full tonight, November 13th. But now that we have that cleared up, what is a supermoon?
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Astrologer Richard Nolle claims credit for originating the term "supermoon," and says it's a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short, Earth, moon and sun are all in a line, with moon in its nearest approach to Earth. Tonight's specific "supermoon" is also notable because it's the closest the moon has been to Earth since 1948. According to NASA's research, it will appear 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the average monthly full moon.
The photographs included in this post are mine, taken with my Nikon Coolpix P510 on a manual setting. I was following some of the instructions made in #5 on this link, but my camera's settings don't match up exactly with what they describe, so I was winging it a bit. The key was using a tripod, so that I didn't have to worry about holding perfectly still.
Even with the tripod, though, I accidentally got a shot with some tree branches and leaves in front of the moon. But once I saw how they looked in large-format on my computer, I went out to take some more. While it's amazing to capture details on the moon's surface not so clearly visible to the naked eye (as I did above), it's kind of fun to get some funky compositions where the moon plays a stronger role as a light source rather than the subject matter. Here's a few of my experiments with having leaves and branches in the way.