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NJ Night Sky: Shooting the Moon – NJ.com

The full moon of August, which will be visible on Monday night, is known as the Green Corn moon or the Sturgeon moon, named after the abundant corn and good fishing this time of year.

There’s nothing special about this full moon but it is a harbinger of things to come: eclipses often come in pairs. That’s because eclipses can only happen when the moon is full or new moon and near the plane of the Earth’s orbit. This full moon is not perfectly lined up with the Earth and the sun, which means the alignment will result in a partial lunar eclipse that will not be visible in the United States. During the event, people living in the Eastern Hemisphere, from Europe and Africa to Asia and Australia, will get a good view.

Partial_Lunar_Eclipse_2010.jpgA partial lunar eclipse occurs on Monday but will not be visible in the United States. 

Although we can’t see it here, you can watch the eclipse online at the Virtual Telescope Project website starting at 2:50 p,m. EDT on Monday.

Two weeks later, the moon will be new and lined up perfectly with the sun so that a total solar eclipse will occur. We will see a partial eclipse here in New Jersey.

If you want to try and photograph the upcoming eclipse – practice on the full moon Monday night. The moon has the same apparent size as the sun, so it will give you a good idea how big the sun will appear in your images. Exposures that work best for the moon will vary depending on your lens and the sky’s clarity, but a good rule of thumb is to start with a shutter speed of 1/125th second and aperture f/9 with an ISO of 200 or 400.

For basic tips on how to get images of the upcoming solar eclipse, take a look at the B&H Photo article How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse. Local astrophotographer Jerry Lodriguss also has an extensive article on the subject, Observing and Photographing the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

 

Perseid Meteor Shower

The Perseid meteor shower comes to a peak on Saturday morning, Aug. 12. Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation on social media surrounding this event – some even claiming that this will be the greatest meteor shower in history. In reality, this will be a poor year for the Perseids. The most activity will occur during daylight hours on Saturday around 10 a.m.  Because the gibbous moon will still be in the early morning sky during the Perseids, bright moonlight will greatly reduce visibility of meteors.

We will likely see a better meteor shower in October when the Orionids peak on Oct.21 and moonlight doesn’t interfere.

 

Kevin D. Conod is the planetarium manager and astronomer at the Newark Museum’s Dreyfuss Planetarium. For updates on the night sky, call the Newark Skyline at (973) 596-6529.

NJ Night Sky: Shooting the Moon – NJ.com

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