biggest supermoon in living memory
Written by Paddy Dinham
Spectacular photographs of the biggest supermoon for generations are already being captured – and the best is yet to come.
The satellite is orbiting as close to Earth as it has done for almost 70 years tonight, but Monday is expected to be the best evening for capturing a rare close-up of the moon. Although the countryside is the best place to see the night’s sky in all its glory, there was still some stunning scenes over London landmarks such as Canary Wharf and the Eye.
The capital’s centre, including The Gherkin, can be seen here underneath the supermoon. Gazers in the south-east of England in particular are advised to get out tonight while they can still enjoy a clear night
WHAT IS A SUPERMOON?
Supermoons are new or full moons that occur when the orbit of the moon brings it particularly close to Earth. For this reason, it appears to be bigger than normal – by about 10 per cent.
We usually get between four and six supermoons a year, but this November is special because the moon will be closer to Earth than at any time this century, and we won’t get as near again until 2034.
Other photographers took the opportunity to clamber up rural landscapes like Beacon Hill near Loughborough to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon. And it was not just Brits who were getting in on the act, with the supermoon also snapped above Russia and Israel.
A Met Office spokesman told MailOnline the best time to observe it would be on Monday night, but large areas of the UK may have their views spoiled by cloud. While areas to the east of hills and mountains, such as the Pennines, eastern Scotland and eastern Wales, may benefit from breaks in cloud.
However, gazers in the south-east of England in particular are advised to get out tonight while they can still enjoy a clear night. There will be a shorter gap until the next time you will be able to see it so close up though, with another supermoon expected in 2034.
HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH A SUPERMOON PERFECTLY
‘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.’
Is it hopeless to attempt a supermoon image with a smartphone camera? Ingalls says, 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 right light balance of the moon on newer iPhones and other smartphones, ‘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.’
For digital SLR photography, Ingalls uses the daylight white balance setting for capturing moonlight, since sunlight is being reflected.
The moon’s orbit is elliptical rather than perfectly circular, so as the moon moves around the Earth it is sometimes a little bit closer and sometimes a bit further away from us.
‘If a full moon happens to occur when the Moon is also at its closest point then it will look slightly larger and brighter than usual – this is what is popularly known as a “supermoon”,’ Dr Marek Kukula, Public Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich told MailOnline.
‘It’s a natural part of the moon’s cycle and happens around once a year.
‘The differences in apparent size and brightness amount to few percent but they can enhance the already beautiful sight of the full moon, making a supermoon worth looking up for.’
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