Full Strawberry Supermoon Rising

As you’ve no doubt heard, there was a “supermoon” tonight. All that really means is that there’s a full moon, which happens every 28 days like clockwork. But as the Moon orbits Earth its orbit is elliptical, not circular, so some times at full moon it’s a touch closer, sometimes a bit further away, so sometimes it looks a bit bigger, and sometimes a bit smaller. It’s not that big of a difference, but clickbait’s gotta click.

As with the lunar eclipse last month, moonrise here is through the trees to the southeast and up from behind the Santa Monica Mountains, about in the Sepulveda Pass and Encino area. On the lower half of the frame, especially on the right, you can just start to see a few of the lights of Tarzana and Woodland Hills.

The moon was looking very red and smoky at moonrise. Guess why??!! Yep, between the normal junk in the air at sunset along the coast, LA’s smog, and a growing amount of smoke from the first of the season’s brush fires, there’s a lot of crap in the air. But once it got up above the mountains, it was definitely a full moon, about fourteen hours or so past full at this point.

Expose to bring out the trees and you SERIOUSLY overexpose the moon, which despite being dusky and orange and down in the atmospheric soup, is still reflecting a TON of light. A really good photographer or graphics artist would take this picture and the one above, taken seconds apart, and simply insert that moon into that bright spot and get something spectacular that looks pretty much like what the human eye sees. I, unfortunately, am not that photographer or graphics artist.

But occasionally I do get lucky. In my last set of pictures for the night, at the right point in the sequence (bracketing the exposures from about 1/1000 second to about 4 seconds, knowing that a couple in the middle will be exposed properly) a 737 out of Burbank Airport turned right 180º after takeoff (probably toward Northern California), passed over Van Nuys Airport (-ish), and right between me and that full strawberry supermoon. Click on the image to see it full sized… can you see it? Just inside the left side, at about the nine o’clock position?

Better lucky than good!

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Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

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