This photo of the Harvest Moon was photographed the night that the sunset matched closely to the moon rise. What does all this gibberish mean? Below I have quoted (with permission for educational purposes) the technical info Why does the Moon have phases?
“The Moon has phases because it orbits Earth, which causes the portion we see illuminated to change. The Moon takes 27.3 days to orbit Earth, but the lunar phase cycle (from new Moon to new Moon) is 29.5 days. The Moon spends the extra 2.2 days “catching up” because Earth travels about 45 million miles around the Sun during the time the Moon completes one orbit around Earth.
At the new Moon phase, the Moon is so close to the Sun in the sky that none of the side facing Earth is illuminated. In other words, the Moon is between Earth and Sun. At the first quarter, the half-lit Moon is highest in the sky at sunset, then sets about six hours later. At full Moon, the Moon is behind Earth in space with respect to the Sun. As the Sun sets, the Moon rises with the side that faces Earth fully exposed to sunlight.” Quoted From, Why does the Moon have phases?
The Actual Full Moon can change the time of the day from month to month. For November 2017, The Full Beaver Moon or Frosty Moon is technically on November 4, 2017, because the actual time of the Full Moon is 1:24 AM.
As a photographer what I look for to determine the premium night for photographing the full moon as it rises over the horizon which is my personal favorite challenge is what day does the full moon rise closest to the day that the sunsets at roughly the same time. Here are the calendars for November 2017 Moonrise on Cape Cod and the Sunset Calendar for November 2017, Cape Cod
On November 3, 2017 (Cape Cod Calendar):
Moon Rise: 5:39 PM
On November 4, 2017 (Cape Cod Calendar):
Moonrise: 6:19 PM
Here is my point. The actual full moon is listed as Saturday, November 4, 2017. However, when I look further I can see that the moonrise is within 7 minutes of the sunset on Friday, November 3, 2017. The moonrise is 48 minutes after the sunset on Saturday, November 4, 2017. Forty-eight minutes will be a dark sky since the last light of the day will be 6:01 PM. Last light after the actual sunset can vary, but can be about an extra 30 minutes after sunset if there is no haze, fog or clouds.
Since I am trying to capture the moonrise over the horizon with the sun illuminating the moon then Friday, November 3 is the night that I will have the brightest background, but still just enough contrast to see the moonrise while having the moon illuminated by the setting sun as the moon rises over the horizon. Once again, I use this technique since my primary goal is to have a lighter sky for the background and to capture the moon, lit by the sunset as it rises over the horizon. Below are some examples of full moon rising photographs using this technique of checking to see which night the full moon rises closer to the time of the setting sun.
‘Squishy Moon’ as it rises over the Atlantic Ocean
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