Super-Moon……….To Blue-Moon

Shooting Moon, once in a Blue-Moon  !

Super Moon As seen from Sangli, India

 On the very first day of brand-new year 2018, we had a one of the well-known celestial opportunity of observing Full Moon on 1st January 2018. Why it was so special is that it occurred on 1st January and secondly the Moon was at closest point to the earth.  The moon’s orbit is elliptical and not circular.  So the moon moves in an elliptical orbit around the Earth. In the Ellipse there are two points, one which is nearest to the centre is known as perigee and the farthest one is known as apogee.

Yesterday, the moon was at its perigee. Hence it was at a point which brings it 14% closer to earth. What this means is that the moon becomes 40 % brighter than he usually is. So friends, yesterday’s moon was brighter and 14% larger than she usually is. This celestial event is known as “ Super Moon” because the moon appears larger than usual.

However, for us photographers, full moon never fascinates!  Why? On any full-moon day Sun and Moon are in exactly opposite zodiac signs. And the sun’s rays fall perpendicularly on the moon’s surface and hence there are hardly any shadows on the moon to distinguish the features on the moon, such as  mountains, plains, huge deep canyons etc.,  Hence the full moon appears as a huge bright disc with the famous dark marks on its face, which have generated lot of mythical stories.

Hence if you want to see the craters on the moon, the best time is to observe the moon on or after 7th day from either Full Moon or the darkest moon day. Here too you have to observe the pen-umbra area, where the light on the moon begins to wane and slowly turns into total darkness. In this area you can see the craters very clearly.

Half Moon as seen from Kolhapur,India

However, you cannot shoot the moon with ordinary lens set-up. You require the highest zoom possible. Luckily, if you have a suitable high zoom prosumer camera such as Nikon B700 or Canon SX60 or Nikon P900. You can get a bigger disc of the moon and observe the craters more clearly.

But here again ther is a catch, when you zoom in so close the angle of view of the lens is so small that a small movement at the camera level results into huge movement when you look through the lens. Hence the use of a sturdy tripod is a must.

The Blue-Moon

So that is about the shooting the Moon, now there is one more phenomenon you are going to observe this month. On 31st January you are going to watch the super Moon once again. If you have two full moons in one calendar month, the second full Moon is known as Blue-Moon. This phenomenon occurs once in two and half years and hence the term “Once in a blue-moon “ was coined in English language for an event or occurrence that rarely happens !