Salutations to the Super moon

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? … It’s ‘Supermoon’!

Clark Kent lookalikes, leave your glasses at home because this Thursday 21st March, the pearl of our solar system will appear much closer than normal.

One photographer who’ll be out hunting a spectacular lunar shot on Thursday is astrophotographer and moon connoisseur, Craig Semple. He captured the stunning image above, which won in The David Malin Awards – Solar System Category, earlier this year.

“The Supermoon is exciting to me as it gets people talking about astronomy, and outside at night looking skyward, instead of sitting in front of the TV!”

Craig Semple

If you’re one of those people keen to look skywards, and are wondering; what’s a Supermoon, when’s the best place to see the Supermoon, or how to photograph a Supermoon, we’ve got you covered.

'The Hidden Colours of the Moon' by Craig Semple
‘The Hidden Colours of the Moon’ by Craig Semple – WINNER Solar System: 2016 CWAS “David Malin Awards”

What’s a Supermoon?

“The Moon has an elliptical orbit that varies from 362,000 km to 404,000 km. So, once every month it will pass through perigee (its closest point to Earth). Supermoon refers to the fact that the moon will be full when it is at perigee. Hence it will appear larger and brighter than normal full moon—about 14% larger, and 30% brighter,” says John Sarkissian, CSIRO Operations Scientist at the Parkes Radio Telescope.

When’s the best place to see the Supermoon?

Craig suggests, “Your best viewing will be when it is near the horizon against reference objects, as this creates ‘The Moon Illusion’, which is an optical illusion that occurs with all sunrises, sunsets, moon rises and moonsets, making the object seem larger.”

Will it be a clear night for the Supermoon?

At the time of writing, it’s a bit to early to make a call on what the weather will be like on the night of Thursday 21st. Award-winning astrophotographer, Phil Hart recommends Cloud Free Night, which shows you were cloud-cover will be.

How do I photograph the Supermoon?

“The first thing you’ll discover when you try to photograph the moon is how small it is. To completely fill the field of view of even a cropped sensor camera requires a focal length of 1500mm—more than most people can carry in their backpack! Fortunately, the moon is a bright object so rewarding shots can be taken with telephoto lenses and teleconverters using a fixed tripod,” says Phil. A detailed analysis of how to photograph the moon is included in Phil’s book Shooting Stars, which you can find here.

You can also learn how you can capture a top-notch image of the Supermoon by reading the easy step-by-step tutorial.

Image by Craig Semple

Special thanks to Craig Semple for the images and tips.

Tag your images #canonaustralia on Instagram or share your images on our Facebook wall for a chance to be featured in our Supermoon gallery.

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