WHAT IS THAT BRILLIANT “STAR” SHINING SO BRIGHTLY NEXT TO THE MOON?

Have you been wondering what that brilliant star is, adjacent to the Moon, and shining so brightly in the sky? I have been when out and about photographing. I think it is Jupiter, but hope some of our astronomy experts will let us know for sure. Thank you.

The little dot to the lower left of the Moon is what I am talking about. It doesn’t look like much in the photo, but in reality is beautiful.

GRAND SUPER SNOW MOONRISE AND MOONSET OVER GLOUCESTER

Last night’s moonrise over the Back Shore was spectacular. Click on the sequence above to see full size. I don’t know why the Moon has a “neck” in the middle photo, or what that reflective appearance is termed, but it was so interesting to see.

February’s Snow Moon was also a Super Moon. It was the the second of a trio of Super Moons taking place in 2019. The Super Snow Moon was also the largest of the three (closest to Earth). The third and final Super Moon of the year is taking place on March 21st.

Our Charlotte loves looking at the Moon, so when she popped up in bed at 5:30 in the morning and exclaimed Moon!, I bundled her up and off we went to see the Moon setting over the Harbor. I wrote last month that she loves looking up in the sky for the Moon, largely from reading her the story book Good Night, Moon, and now we are reading Buenos Noches, Luna, practicing for an upcoming trip to Mexico.

 

NASA: When a full moon appears at perigee (its closest point to Earth), it is slightly brighter and larger than a regular full moon—and that’s where we get a ‘supermoon.’ The phrase was coined in 1979.

Astronomy Orgasm: Threesome Tonight!

Holy cow, New England weather is going to give us clear skies tonight as an impressive threesome happens after sunset.

Here’s the deal. There was a supermoon last night but it’s a new moon so no one saw it. It means tonight it is one humongous thin fingernail. But wait, there’s more. Venus will be blazing away just to the left of the fingernail. But here is the cherry on top. Whip out some binoculars and check out Mars just above Venus! You might be able to get all three in wide field birding binocs. But even without binocs it will look pretty cool.

Look to the right of where the sun set and Venus will be blazing. Mars up and sliver of moon to the right.
Look to the right of where the sun set and Venus will be blazing. Mars up and sliver of moon to the right.

 

Photographers Ephemeris shows where you need to be to catch the three setting over City Hall. Is that Joey’s dock?

moonset
Did I really type “sunset hear”? Well to all the grammarians who just started grinding their teeth I say, “lighten up Francis, I’m not going back to change it.”

 

Credits: First shot I made in “StarSafari” astronomy program. Gloucester Area Astronomy Club Approved. The second photo I made using “The Photographers Ephemeris“. Probably GAAC approved too. Both programs worth knowing how to use.

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.)

Remember the “Super Moon”?

This was a year ago now… Time flies! A canvas giclée print of this shot will be for sale in the GMG section of EJ Lefavour’s gallery on Rocky Neck very soon. It was printed at Cape Ann Giclée, so the quality of the print is excellent.

– Fr. Matthew Green

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.