The Only Supermoon of 2017 Is This Weekend—Here's How to See It

Friday, 01 December 2017 - 1:33PM
Moon
Friday, 01 December 2017 - 1:33PM
The Only Supermoon of 2017 Is This Weekend—Here's How to See It
Image credit: YouTube
Sky watchers patiently waiting for the moon to go big this year will finally be rewarded in a couple of days as the only supermoon of 2017 will finally appear on Dec. 3.
 
A "supermoon" takes its name from the especially large appearance of the moon, which happens when a full moon happens at the same time when the moon reaches its perigee, the point in its orbit when closest to Earth. The resulting view makes the moon appear approximately 14-percent larger and about 30 percent brighter than usual. On this occasion, the moon will go fully "Full" at 10:47 a.m. EST on Sunday, December 3, then reach its perigee December 4 at 3:45 a.m. EST. 
 
Of course, while its popularly referred to as a supermoon, if you're speaking with a scientist they will likely refer to this event as "perigee syzygy," as this event involves the alignment of the Moon, Earth and Sun.  
 
Chances are, if you see the supermoon and it looks as cool as you hope, you might be tempted to take a photo of this lunar show—and as most of us can (or should) admit, pics rarely show the dynamic view that we caught with our eyes.

Last year, when the full moon of November 14, 2016 was the closest supermoon in almost 70 years, the media attention was somewhat pitched, and NASA responded with some advice from one of its senior photographers on how to best snap a shot.

 
"Don't make the mistake of photographing the moon by itself with no reference to anything," said NASA Senior Contract Photographer Bill Ingalls. "Instead, think of how to make the image creative—that means tying it into some land-based object. It can be a local landmark or anything to give your photo a sense of place."
 
Ingalls explains her uses sources like Google Maps when he's planning what angles and vantages he'll employ when taking pictures of the moon, and looks for local monuments to catch in his photos to add contrast. 
 
The photographer also realizes most of will probably try and use our smartphones to take photos, which is not always a successful endeavor.

However, Ingalls says there are ways to make your pics somewhat stronger: "It's all relative. For me, it would be maddening and frustrating—yet it may be a good challenge, actually. You're not going to get a giant moon in your shot, but you can do something more panoramic, including some foreground that's interesting. Think about being in an urban area where it's a little bit brighter." 
 
To get the best light balance of the moon on iPhones and other smartphones, he says you can "tap the screen and hold your finger on the object (in this case, the moon) to lock the focus. Then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten the exposure."
 
Science
Astronomy
Moon
The Only Supermoon of 2017 Is This Weekend—Here's How to See It
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