Jump to content


Is There a Cape With That?


Recommended Posts

March 18, 2011

11:00pm - 12:00am

For weeks now, I heard that the moon trajectory around the earth was going to bring it approximately 7000 km closer to the earth. Astronomers are well aware that the closest approach from our natural satellite to the earth is called a perigee and that this happens once a year. However, on Saturday (yes that's today) at 3pm, the moon will be the closest it has been for eighteen years! It will be 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than lesser full moons (when the moon is at its farthest from Earth). This all being said, this particular perigee moon has been dubbed the "supermoon".

Will we see much of a difference?

Is there any danger?

Does it wear a cape and fight villains?

To the casual observer, little difference will be seen. I find that full moons are blinding and this one was no different. Was it more blinding than usual? Yes, I actually found that gazing through the telescope at this one actually made me look away from the eyepiece a few times out of discomfort from the brightness.

There are many postings online how this specific moon poses a danger and has even been blamed for the earthquake / tsunami in Japan. We have to remember that this idea was suggested by an astrologer and not an astronomer! This moon is just closer. That's it. It will not and has not created / create destruction on earth. However, looking at it through a telescope for long periods of time may cause discomfort. That's it.

A cape and and fight villains? Well, I would have to say yes. I had just returned from a week of educational meetings where I had driven 8 hours from home and attended many productive yet grueling sessions of strategic planning for our next school year with the Regional Board. Being home, at my eyepiece, after many nights of seeing blurry after my latest MS relapse experience was a blessing indeed! I took the pictures below and if you look real close, you can see the "cape":

Shine baby, shine!

May I also add the note that my vision has greatly improved and is now very close to being normal!


Shall I bring you closer?

This is the Tycho Lunar Crater (one that is easily recognizable to anyone that has looked at the moon:


Lastly, this is the Sea of Serenity and the Sea of tranquility (Mare Serenitatis / Mare Tranquilitatis)


I am still learning the ropes to navigating on the moon and find this site very helpful: ---> Click HERE

This being said, please let me know if I have made any mistakes. :)

Did the moon fight off the villains that haunted my dreams and every waking hour of battling with teaching action plans for the following school year? You bet!

There was another cause of celebration that night. The last time I had seen Saturn through the eyepiece of my telescope was last June. Since that time, it was either too low to the horizon, hidden by clouds or simply not around. That night? It shone loud and clear! I grabbed a picture before bringing in my telescope (I'll make it a little bigger next time, I am still learning the ropes of the RegiStax program).

Can anyone help me with making pictures bigger?


When I came inside, my husband Steven and wonderful dog Baffy were having a tumble fight in the living room. I had been away from both of them for the week when in meetings so I did the next best thing,.. I joined them! Now, how's that for a Friday night?



Edited by stolenfeather
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Isabelle,

I was out looking at the moon last, we had the first really good viewing night for what seems like ages, and it was so bright that it made it quite hard to see anything else. Still managed a good 3/4 hour with Saturn, the first time I had seen this beauty, really impressed.

I always enjoy reading your posts, you seem to have the knack of making whatever you have to say interesting to the reader.

Baffy looks a real cutie, how did he get his name?

Seems like you had a real grotty week with your educational meetings.

All the best and keep posting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for commenting Alan and Alan! :)

Alan (Nexus) - Yes, my eyesight is better but not 100% yet. It will be,... Thanks for the welcome!

Alan (Astro Imp) - Yes, the moon is indeed making it hard for us to see Saturn but it is definitely nice to see it so high over the horizon finally. I hope to see it soon but not tonight since the moon is indeed very blinding. Thank you so much for your compliment Alan! Astronomy is quite a passion and I also love writing. I'm glad that my posts are appreciated. I sometimes wonder if anyone is reading them at all since this is such a professional forum and my experience and equipment is so humble next to many on this site.

Baffy? My husband's uncle had a dog and I became very attached to it. She was named Baffy because the "uncle" was an avid gold player and a baffy is supposed to be a nickname for a club. Unfortunately his dog died and when I adopted this Labrador that looked a lot like her,.. I just HAD to name her the same.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Delightful post as always, Isabelle. I was out Friday and Saturday nights and the moon sure seemed even brighter than usual. I was trying some first time ever imaging, using an Orion Solar System imager, and I had to turn the settings about off.

The moon must certainly be super; it is slowly changing the earth's rotation ratel as it creeps away. Sounds like something a superbeing would do!

Thanks for the cheery read.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Jim! I don't know but there's something about watching the night sky that sparks my creativity. Call it inspiration. The starlit sky brings the best out of me and I guess I just aim to share this with others and am always touched to know that others like it. I agree that my posts aren't always the most scientific ones but I believe that who we are as humans starts within and how we interact with others and learn about the natural world.

Thanks again!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Isabelle,

I really like your efforts on the moon and Saturn. I suppose the images were taken afocally (i.e. with the DSLR and lens through the eyepiece), or at prime focus. Your Saturn image is surprisingly sharp for either technique.

To get your Saturn image bigger I think you will need to use a web-cam, and a barlow to increase the focal length of the scope. This does mean the scope wil need to track in some way, and you will need to do post-processing of the resulting movie with Registax or something similar.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Michael but you would be very surprised to know that I indeed use a video camera and registax (I guess I need more practice though). As for my barlow,... I am waiting to receive a new one in the mail. I don't know how it happened but mine got chipped. :D

Thank you for the kind compliments and help!


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again Michael! I can't wait to see the "new look" when the Barlow comes in,... I have to say that I have no idea what kind of Barlow it will be since it's a surprise present from my husband. So yeah,.. I shouldn't even know that it's coming. I'm a sly one.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.