October Super Moon Rising © 2016 Claudia Ward
We've all heard about a "Super Moon" and seen photos and said "Ahhh!", but what does it really mean?
The technical term for the "Super Moon" event is "the perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system". Since the moon travels in an ellipse around the earth, it's closer at times (perigee) and further away at others (apogee), the difference being some 27,000 miles. In 1979, Richard Nolle coined the phrase "Super moon" for a new or full moon occurring at or near (within ten percent) perigee. The former aren't really seen; the latter are quite spectacular. When a full moon coincides with the perigee phase of the moon's orbit, it will shine 25% brighter.
Last night's Hunter's Moon was one of three "Super moons" occurring at the end of this year. Peter and I used this as rehearsal for next month. The Beaver Moon in November promises to be the most impressive as "it will be the largest full moon visible in our skies so far this century", according to National Geographic.
P.S. For those of you who truly want to shoot the moon, especially next month's, check out an app called The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE). For any day, in any year, you can place a pin on any location in the world and see where and when the moon will rise and set, and the sun will rise and set ... there. This is the most remarkable tool for photographers planning to get the "right shot". It's invaluable for helping us be "at the right place, at the right time."