Lunar Perigee and the 2012 Supermoon
In 2011 and 2012 there was much reference to the term Supermoon, which is an astrological term, as opposed to the Astronomical term Perigee. What was so Super about it? Well, I was out there and it looked like a regular full moon, but we’d all love to believe that we could see it larger and brighter than at other times :-)
Perigee is the time at which the moon is closest in its orbit to the earth (doesn’t matter what phase it’s in), while the Supermoon refers to a New or Full moon that occurs when the moon is within 90% of its closest approach to the earth in its orbit. So I suppose that the perfect Supermoon would be a Full moon at Perigee :-) (incidentally, the time when the moon is furthest away from the earth in its orbit is called Apogee)
The Perigee varies from around 357,000km to 369,000km (in roundish figures), and while a difference of 12,000km sounds like a lot, the difference to the naked eye is negligible.
On May 5th, the moon was at its fullest at 1 minute to its perigee, so that’s about as perfect a Supermoon as we can get I suppose.
Anyway… on May 5th this year, I was up the coast near Lusignan when this year’s “Supermoon” was supposed to occur, two things happened (well, more than two, but two that are relevant to this post); I had lent out my telephoto lens, so getting a close-up was out of the question, and the clouds were conspiring against me, So I ended up with a wide shot full of clouds :-)
After playing hide-and-seek with the moon for several minutes I gave up and headed out, one that I took would work, so this is one that worked :-)
Click on the image to see it better in the Gallery.