Full Moon at Perigee (Supermoon)

Last night was the so called “supermoon”, where the full moon was within an hour of perigee (closest to Earth) and was 14% bigger and 30% brighter than at apogee (farthest from Earth). A full moon at perigee only happens every 18yrs or so for a specific geographic area where it can be seen, though full moons a few hours from perigee happen more often. Honestly, I thought last night’s moon was not as impressive as the partial supermoon I saw in 2008, but I had to wait longer for it to clear the trees for me to see it last night due to my location. The closer the moon is to the horizon the more magnified it will appear to the observer, but this is really an optical illusion. In reality it is no larger or smaller than it would appear directly overhead. Our brains just interpret the moon to be larger compared to clouds and objects that are further away and thus smaller on the horizon than clouds that are directly overhead and closer; the moon itself is not larger on the horizon than overhead. Here is an interesting article on the “relative size” optical illusion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_illusion

Anyway, since I didn’t have a great foreground object a great distance away to create the illusion of a large moon rising, I had to rely on my Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens with a TC-20E III 2x teleconverter. I took this photo at 400mm, f/11, 1/160 second, ISO 640, manual exposure, auto focusing, and auto white balance. Compare it to the full moon I took last month at 200mm and I think the 2x teleconverter made a much bigger difference than the moon being a “supermoon” last night, though it certainly helped a small amount. 🙂

Here are a couple interesting articles on super full moons at perigee:
http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2011/16mar_supermoon
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/03/19/makes-supermoon-super/?test=faces
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