WHERE will you be when the moon edges its closest to the Earth in 70 years?
For the first time since 1948, the moon will be the closest to the Earth, at 15 per cent larger than its normal size.
And it’s happening tonight.
The astromonical phenomenon better known as the supermoon will occur, according to NASA, because the moon has an elliptical orbit, making one side, the perigee, closer to the Earth than the other side, the apogee.
What is normally a syzygy, the scientific name for the Earth-sun-moon line up during its orbit around the Earth, will tonight become a perigee-syzygy, where the moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.
Tonight’s moon will be super special because it will be the closest full moon to date in the 21st century.
While the moon will be its brightest tonight, in Catholic tradition, it holds even more significance than just lighting up the sky.
The miraculous Marian image of Our Lady pressed into the tilma of Blessed Juan Diego of Guadalupe, shows the Blessed Virgin standing on a crescent moon.
The apparition also fits a depiction of a woman in Revelations 12:1: “And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars”.
In the Song of Songs, a reference is made to a woman who comes forth “as the morning rise, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array”.
This Scripture is most notably used as the Antiphon in the Catena, an important prayer in the popular Catholic association, the Legion of Mary.
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen also used the moon as an allegory for the Church’s teachings on the Mother of God.
“God who made the sun, also made the moon. The moon does not take away from the brilliance of the sun. All its light is reflected from the sun. The Blessed Mother reflects her Divine Son; without Him, she is nothing. With Him, she is the Mother of men,” Archbishop Sheen said.
Tonight, that brilliance of the moon, or even Our Lady, could be shining a light on your parish church, producing a stunning silhouette of a cross or steeple, or simply illuminating the beauty of God’s world around us.
As a memory of this miraculous marvel, The Catholic Leader wants you to capture the supermoon in a Catholic backdrop and share it with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email firstname.lastname@example.org using #fairasthemoon.
If you’re not quite sure how to take the shot, we’ve asked our photographer Alan Edgecome of (ironically) Purple Moon Photography to give us some tips.
According to Alan, the best time to shoot is when the moon starts to rise above the horizon, where it will appear up to 15 per cent bigger.
“Tonight’s the night, “Alan said.
“If you don’t get out there tonight you will have to wait another 18 years until 2034 for the next one.”
Alan Edgecomb’s Top Four Supermoon Photo Tips:
1. You’ll want a steady shot.
Use a tripod. And if you have one, using a cable shutter release to eliminate any remaining camera wobble from your shot. Alternatively, use the self-timer on the camera.
The more telephoto your lens (the higher the mm) the more foreshortening you will get. So, for instance you are shooting a church with the moon in the background, the further you go away from the church with a telephoto, the larger the moon will look in relation to the church.
3. Exposure is critical.
One thing you want to remember is you don’t want to overexpose the moon. Because, with digital, as soon as you overexpose something you blow the contrast out. You could use the camera’s manual override and take shots which under expose and overexpose, and that way you can choose from a selection of images to pick the one with the best exposure.
4. Timing is key.
Moonrise tonight in Brisbane is at 5.51pm and it will rise at 71 degrees. At this time, there will be still be daylight, plus the Ambient light from the Moon , which is a reflection of light from the Sun.
Once you’ve taken your shots of the supermoon, simply share them on your social media accounts and tag us in your photos with the hashtag #fairasthemoon (PS – we’re on Facebook @thecatholicleader, Twitter @thecatholiclead and Instagram @catholicleader).
And of course, don’t forget to pray for the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, fair as the moon.
By Mark Bowling and Emilie Ng