Tag Archives: moon

Wednesday Lunar Eclipse at Dawn Once in a Lifetime!

Tomorrow morning, Wednesday, when the sun rises in the east the full moon will be setting in the west. But this time a full lunar eclipse will be taking place.

The countdown:

5:18 AM eclipse starts (moon starts getting red)

6:27 AM total eclipse (moon is red!)

6:47 AM maximum eclipse in Gloucester

Sunrise is at 6:47 AM and the moon sets at :6:52 AM  So you can see there is a pile up with the sun rising, the moon setting and the moon is epic total all at the same time!

So if you are out at the Eastern Point lighthouse before 6:30 AM you can set up to watch the lunar eclipse set over the western harbor while the sun rises behind you in the east behind the lighthouse.

Except it is going to be raining at dawn with a 17 mph wind out of the south making it no so much fun out there. But what if the clouds part?

easternpoint100714

That yellow line points to where the sun will be coming up and the dark blue line points to where the moon is setting.

Because the blood red eclipse will be on the horizon the moon will look about as gargantuan as a giant Rubber Duck sitting in Gloucester Harbor. Except we won’t see a thing because it will be raining.

Rubber Duck Counterpoint: The Super Moon is Super!

First some definitions.

Supermoon: When Full Moon and Perigee occur at the same time.

Full Moon: When the Moon is opposite the sun and lit 100%. Everyone knows that. It happens every 29.5 days. (Remember that number, it’s important.)

Perigee of the moon: This is when the moon is closest to earth as it swings around the earth (not in a circle) Moon perigee happens every 27.6 days. (Remember that number too.)

So full moon every 29.5 days and close moon every 27.6 days. Those two events go out of and into synch. When they both happen very close to each other like this weekend the moon is “super”.  Is it a big deal? I think it is. Compare these two full moons occuring at perigee and apogee (opposite of perigee or the futhest the moon gets from earth):

lunar-apogee-perigee-2010Can you see a difference? I think you can. One could argue that it isn’t that “super” since those numbers synch every 14 months but I like to define “super” as being out of the ordinary. And this weekend on Cape Ann when the sun sets and the full moon rises you have many additional items that make this moon super.

1) Full moon. 2) Perigee. 3) It’s summertime and you are not freezing your ass off looking a the moon. 4) You are on Cape Ann so a five minute drive and you are watching the moon rise at 7:34PM over the ocean tonight (8:32PM Sunday night).

But mother nature throws in one more variable. Clouds. Most likely it will be cloudy at moonrise both days. But if clears get your butt off that couch and go check out a super moon.

The one last thing that makes a Cape Ann Super Moon more super than every one else’s moon. You live on an island. That means another five minute drive and you can watch the super moon set in the morning right into the ocean. (5:21AM Sunday morning, 6:32AM Monday morning). If that isn’t super I don’t know what is. Add a fresh butternut crunch doughnut from Rockport’s Brothers Brew and that might make it super for you. (Opens 7AM.)

Lots of early shows tomorrow (SUNDAY) will seem even earlier

OK, you’re setting your clocks ahead before you go to bed tonight, so that means everything that happens tomorrow will seem earlier.  That’s because it will be earlier even though our clocks will tell us differently.  Honestly, I don’t much like this business of changing time twice a year.  And setting clocks ahead seems to be much more difficult than setting them back.  It’s not because we supposedly lose an hour of sleep.  It’s because it feels funny.  In fact, early studies on circadian rhythms showed that when people could control their own light and were not exposed to any time cues, they gravitated toward almost a 25 hour day (sometimes referred to as a “lunar day”) — essentially synchronizing their inner “body clocks” with the tides.  (It takes the Earth 24 hours 50 minutes to rotate to the same position relative to the moon.)

Anyhow the point is that if you’re gonna feel weird, you might as well take advantage of the fact that good music starts at 11 AM tomorrow (it’ll feel like 10).  Then there’s music starting at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00, 6:30 and 8, when you can catch Marina Evans at Rhumb Line (good for those of you who were bummed because The Grove cancelled her last night).  Check the full live music schedule here.

Super Moon II Sunday Night

The exact time of the full moon last night was very close to midnight. That means that tonight’s moonrise will be almost as big as yesterday. Some of you got some amazing shots with the fog. I got a super dud in Rockport.

Tonight, same spot on the horizon but:

Moonrise: 8:52PM

Sunset: 7:48PM

Nautical Twilight: 8:59PM (cannot navigate by the horizon)

Astronomical Twilight 9:42PM (stars are out)

So it will be darker but your camera should still be able to pick up the horizon when the moon appears.

Become One with the Solar System Tonight

OK, checking out the Moon, Jupiter, and Venus last night was a bust on Cape Ann because of the clouds. But tonight is the night. Tonight is the night you can become one with the solar system and all you need is some decent birding binoculars and a view of the sunset.

Sunset is at 5:27PM. Once it gets dark the sky above that setted sun in the west will look like this:

[edit] Donna was going out at 5:15 PM which is too early (and too cold). Nautical twilight is 6:30 PM, good start of the show and astronomical twilight is 7:00 PM which is good for photography unless you want to pick up some foreground lighthouse or something.

OK, here is where the “become one with the solar system” happens. Take your binocs and check out Venus. It’s not quite round. That is because it circles the sun inside the earth’s track around the sun and it is mostly full but slightly “waning gibbous**”. Since you know where the sun is (just below the horizon, duh), you can really feel where it is in 3D. An inner planet speeding towards us.  Now take a look at Jupiter. An outer planet it is lit as a complete circle. But while you are there check out the four moons of Jupiter that you can spot with binocs.  Callisto top left along with Io and Ganymede also on the left and very close together with Europa hanging down bottom right. Look at them tomorrow and they’ll be different. So now you are really picking up on the 3D effect of everything spinning around. And do not forget our moon sitting there lit up on the bottom from the same light source lighting them all up, our sun. With decent wide field birding binoculars you should be able to get Jupiter and her moons and earth’s moon in the same view!!

Now that you have them all burned into your brain and the sky gets even darker as the sun sets consider that the reason the sun is setting is that you are standing on a planet spinning back away from the direction you are looking at about 900 mph. Planet earth, northern hemisphere spinning back so that that the inner and outer planet as well as the central sun of the solar system and even the moon of your home planet slowly moves to set in front of you. Got it all pictured and positioned in 3D? Are you dizzy?  Best show on earth and it’s all free complete with the Dog Bar Breakwater thrown in. You see it first but that dude on the beach in California is 3,000 miles in front of you so his front row seat moves into position in about three hours. Can you see him? Down in front!

I’m going to check it out from Halibut Point if the wind does not blow me away. Click the diagram for more details at Earth Sky dot org.

** Venus is waning gibbous which means it is moving away from full as it speeds towards us. If you check with binocs over the next month as it gets closer to sunset but also closer to us it will become a crescent.

Future Study: Milky Way Galaxy and how you fit in it: The Universe by Monty Python. The song is where I got the 900 mph. A great reference.

Get it Together: Moon, Venus, and Jupiter, at Sunset

I wasn’t going to post this because every time I point out something astronomical the dang clouds move in. But I see some blue sky right now. Tonight, just above the setting sun, the waxing crescent moon hangs with Venus (the bright one), and Jupiter. Sunset is 5:26 PM.

Click the photo to go to EarthSky and get the details. The moon will be marching up past those two planets over the next few days so don’t be bummed if one of these 30 mph clouds is blocking it all tonight.

Rubber Duck Astronomy note: Wicked Waning Crescent Christmas Eve Morning

[Correction Edit] Moonrise 6:55 AM, Sunrise 7:10 AM, (New Moon today at 1:06PM).

First the facts: On Christmas Eve the sun will rise at 7:10 AM but more than an hour earlier, at 5:56 AM, the last wee bit of waning crescent moon (4.2%) will rise in the early twilight. More than an hour [15 minutes!] seems like plenty of time of time for this little upside down fingernail to get up there but it will be extremely thin and vanish before the sun rises. It’s a new moon (really should be called “no moon”) on Christmas so it’s going to be close.

But the weatherman seems to have been wrong about the clouds. They have already cleared out and cooler temps in the morning means clear skies. A quick peek at “The Photographer’s Ephemeris” shows that if one plants themselves on the end of the Pigeon Cove jetty it will rise behind Straitsmouth Lighthouse. If you are down on Eden Road it will rise between the Twin Lights.

What it looked like on Thursday. Pretty thin and that was 10.1% left. Can 4.2 % be photographed?

Rubber Duck Tip: You got suckered into freezing out there on the beach and it’s already 6:30 AM and no moon. Be patient and get your eyes dark adapted. And look around slowly. Look to the left and right but keep attention to your peripheral vision. That’s where your rods and cones in your eye have not been burnt out by watching sunsets and you’ll suddenly see the whisker of a moon. If there is morning haze she might be invisible but that is why a cold Christmas Eve morning helps out.

Joey Quick Tip: use a medium long prime lens and manually open to that highest aperture. 1.8 or less if you got it. If your lens will not focus point it at the furthest light you can see and press the shutter halfway then move to the moon and fire. Better yet, if your camera has manual focus, turn the auto off and focus on infinity. Don’t forget your tripod and don’t breathe.

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