Next April 8 will be the third and largest supermoon of 2020. Following the recommendations that we propose below, you will be able to take advantage of this show to obtain beautiful images of the full moon from home.
The term “supermoon” was popularly coined just a few decades ago and has no scientific use. Refers to our perception of the diameter and brightness of the full Moon from Earth with respect to the apogee, the maximum distance at which this satellite is from our planet. The Moon rotates on Earth with a period of approximately 28 days. But its orbit is not circular. It is an ellipse. That is the reason why the Earth-Moon distance is not always the same and, therefore, neither are the size and brightness that we perceive of its image.
By definition, a supermoon will occur if the full moon happens near the lunar perigee. So this year 2020 we will hear about up to four supermoons (in February, March, April and May). In fact, this astronomical event is so common that, normally, there are usually between three and five supermoons per year. During these phenomena, the Moon’s apparent diameter can increase up to 14% and its brightness up to 30%. In the case of the next supermoon, its apparent size and brightness will increase by 12% and 29% from peak, respectively. This will be due to the fact that next Wednesday, April 8, at 2:36 UT, the satellite will pass 357,035 km from Earth (peak with the maximum distance in 2020, 406,690 km).
In the most favorable situation, a supermoon will have a diameter of 4 arc minutes greater than a full moon at peak. That is to say, the increase in angular diameter of the supermoon is only one fifteenth of the angular size of our little finger if we observe it with the arm extended. It is really very difficult to distinguish it with the naked eye.
Most of us will have to see this full moon in perigee from our houses. In order not to miss the opportunity to enjoy this heavenly show in all its splendor, below we include a series of recommendations for photographing it from home and we encourage you to share the result on your social networks using the hashtag #SuperlunaDesdeCasa.
The night of Tuesday 7 will be the best time to observe it. By the time the sun sets in the west, the full moon will be rising over the eastern horizon. Throughout the night and until dawn, we can see her cross the sky. A nice moment to immortalize it would be during the start or the sunset. With the horizon clear, we can observe some atmospheric effects of refraction and we will have enough ambient light to be able to see the landscape as well. An hour after sunset and up to an hour before sunrise, we have the darkness of night (although not so much because of the full moon). From then on, we can also see the stars and photograph them. And, before dawn, the Moon will fade as it approaches the western horizon.
To photograph it with our mobiles, we should not use the predefined (automatic) modes, but adjust the exposure ourselves manually. For example, for a conventional mobile in a brightly lit environment (from a city, for example), ISO 1600, 2-second exposure and maximum aperture (minimum f) will suffice.
If the program that comes on our mobile does not have the possibility of adjusting the intake values, we can download one of the hundreds of free apps. The same to edit the images: it will be enough to be able to adjust the exposure, the contrast and the color, to achieve a more realistic and / or attractive result. Some high-end mobiles come with an integrated zoom or another camera with a larger focal length.. That can help us get more detail, but in return we will lose part of the landscape. Mobile mini-lenses are also sold, with quite acceptable results.