How to Photograph a Supermoon
Even though supermoons don't really affect the earth much and aren't considered that important by scientists, they're still an interesting phenomenon to photograph. Here are some tips from photographers on shooting a supermoon.
- Use the right equipment and settings. Ideally, you want to use a digital single-lens reflex camera with an attachable 70 to 300 millimeter telephoto lens, so you can get a more detailed image. Use the daylight white balance setting on your DSLR, since what you're trying to capture is reflected sunlight.
- Turn off your flash, even if you're shooting with your smartphone. It'll illuminate your immediate surroundings, and make the moon look insignificant by comparison. Consider downloading one of the many apps that allow you to adjust a smartphone camera to take the best pictures in the darkness [sources: Gee, Orwig, Cuthbertson].
- Stabilize your camera. It's a good idea to use a tripod, or else to brace your camera against some fixed object such as a lamppost or windowsill, to reduce shaking that could wipe out details and make the image blurry. That also will allow you to use a longer exposure time and take in more light, a benefit when shooting at night [source: Hoffman].
- Don't just photograph the supermoon itself. NASA senior photographer Bill Ingalls recommends juxtaposing the moon with some land-based object, such as a recognizable local building, in order to give a reference point that will drive home the moon's size [source: Stone].
How often does a Supermoon occur?
Supermoons, or perigees, happen a few times a year (at most).
What is a supermoon?
The term supermoon isn't one used by astronomers, but people use it to refer to a full or new moon that is near the closest point of its orbit around Earth.
What is the closest the moon gets to Earth?
On Jan. 4, 1912, a supermoon was 221,441 miles (356,375 kilometers) from Earth. According to EarthSky, Another supermoon won't come this close until Nov. 25, 2034.
What does a supermoon look like?
According to Space.com, depending on the exact distance between the Earth and the moon, a supermoon can appear as much as 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the usual moon.
When can I see the moon closest to Earth?
In the year 2021, the moon will come closest to Earth on Dec. 4, 2021.
Originally Published: Dec 13, 2016
Author's Note: How Supermoons Work
This assignment was interesting to me because I've always found it enchanting to go for walks at night, under the illumination of a full moon.
More Great Links
- Astropixels.com. "Full Moon at Perigee (Super Moon): 2001 to 2100." (Dec. 11. 2011) http://astropixels.com/ephemeris/moon/fullperigee2001.html
- Connelly, Claire. "Moonageddon: on March 19, our nearest neighbour will be at its closest since 1993."News.Com. Au. March 7, 2011. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.news.com.au/technology/moonageddon-on-march-19-our-nearest-neighbour-will-be-biggest-and-closest-since-1993/news-story/7351159daae2942fa5cc3f04519ca348
- Cuthbertson, Anthony. "How to Take A Picture of the Supermoon on Your Smartphone." Newsweek. Nov. 14, 2016. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.newsweek.com/how-take-picture-supermoon-smartphone-moon-iphone-520810
- Dickinson, David. "Get Set for Super (Duper) Moon 2 of 3 for 2014." Universe Today. Dec. 23, 2015. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.universetoday.com/113548/get-set-for-super-duper-moon-2-of-3-for-2014/
- Dittman, Joan. "Lunar eclipse spawns viewing parties in Chicago and Lowell." Chicago Tribune. Sept. 23, 2015. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/lifestyles/ct-ptb-dittmann-lunar-eclipse-st-0924-20150923-story.html
- Fernandez, Sofia M. "10 Moon Songs for Saturday's 'Super Moon' (Video)." Hollywood Reporter. March 18, 2011. (Dec. 10, 2016) http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/10-moon-songs-saturdays-super-169247
- Gee, Mark. "How-To: Photograph The Moon." Popular Photography. Nov. 11, 2016. (Dec. 11, 2016)
- Hoffman, Tony. "6 Tips for Better (Super) Moon Photos." PC Mag. Nov. 14, 2016. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2382453,00.asp
- King, Bob. "Behold November's Super-Duper Supermoon. "Sky and Telescope. Nov. 9, 2016. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/see-the-biggest-supermoon-in-68-years/
- McClure, Bruce. "Smallest full moon of 2016 on April 22." Earthsky.org. April 22, 2016. (Dec. 10, 2016) http://earthsky.org/tonight/micro-moon-years-smallest-full-moon
- McClure, Bruce and Byrd, Deborah. "What is a supermoon?" Earthsky.org. Nov. 8, 2016. (Dec. 10, 2016) http://earthsky.org/space/what-is-a-supermoon
- Mathewson, Samantha. "Supermoon' Science: NASA Explains the Closest Full Moon Until 2034." Space.com. Nov. 14, 2016. (Dec. 10, 2016) http://www.space.com/34714-supermoon-science-nasa-explains-closest-full-moon.html
- Metcalfe, John. "Extreme Super Moon 2011 to cause destruction?"Wjla.com. March 7, 2011. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://wjla.com/weather/closings/extreme-supermoon-on-march-19-makes-astrologers-wet-their-pants-9251
- Metcalfe, John. "Tonight's Full Moon Will Be an Oddly Shrunken 'Micromoon'." Citylab.com. Mar. 5, 2015. (Dec.10, 2016) http://www.citylab.com/weather/2015/03/tonights-full-moon-will-be-an-oddly-shrunken-micromoon/386884/
- Nemiroff, Robert and Bonnell, Jerry. "Astronomy Picture of the Day."Nasa.gov. Sept. 8, 2014. (Dec. 10, 2016) https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140908.html
- NASA. "Goddard's Chief Scientist Talks About the 'Supermoon' Phenomenon."Nasa.gov. March 11, 2011. (Dec. 10, 2016) https://www.nasa.gov/topics/moonmars/features/supermoon.html
- Orwig, Jessica. "NASA's senior photographer offers up the best ways to shoot tonight's rare supermoon. "Business Insider. Nov. 12, 2016. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-shoot-supermoon-according-to-nasa-2016-11
- Portman, Jed. "The Supermoon. "Pbs. Org. March 17, 2011. (Dec. 10, 2016) http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/five-things/the-supermoon/7876/
- Sessions, Larry. "Super effect on us from a supermoon?"Earthsky.org. Nov. 12, 2016. (Dec. 10, 2016) http://earthsky.org/space/does-the-supermoon-have-a-super-effect-on-us
- ScienceDaily. "Why Saturday's 'supermoon' will be beautiful, but not super." ScienceDaily. May 4, 2012. (Dec. 10, 2016) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120504135724.htm
- Stone, Daniel. "How to Photograph a Supermoon." National Geographic. Nov. 10, 2016. (Dec. 11, 2016) http://www.nationalgeographic.com/photography/proof/2016/11/how-to-photograph-supermoon-astronomy/
- Talcott, Richard. "There's super-hype for this month's Super Moon."Astronomy.com. Nov. 4, 2016. (Dec. 10, 2016) http://www.astronomy.com/observing/news/2016/11/theres-super-hype-for-this-months-super-moon
- Timeanddate.com. "What is a Micromoon?" (Dec. 11, 2016) https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/moon/micro-moon.html
- Today. "'Supermoon' lights up social media with beautiful pics." (Dec. 10, 2016) http://www.today.com/video/supermoon-lights-up-social-media-with-beautiful-pics-787372611978