at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

The Rise of the Super Moon (and other adventures in astronomy)

I was excited to see all of the hype created by the so-called “super moon” – even if there wasn’t anything drastically different to see.  I like it when the general population gets engaged in astronomy, as well as any opportunities to learn new things myself. 

This past Friday was one of the best clear night skies we’ve had in a while.  Winter tends to be very cloudy in West Michigan (and cold!), so I don’t get to enjoy the starry skies very often this time of year.  Because Friday night was not only clear, but also happened to be warm-ish, and a day before the rise of the super moon, I decided it was high time to get my telescope back out!  The moon was almost full, and was so bright.  It’s so cool to be able to see so many details of the lunar landscape through the telescope. 

I didn’t stop there, though.  I realized that Saturn was also visible in the night sky, not too far from the moon.  Last summer was the first time I’d ever picked out Saturn in the sky or seen it through a telescope.  It’s so far away, and it still looks tiny through my telescope, but it’s so amazing to see those rings!  There’s no mistaking Saturn for anything else – that’s for sure.  What I just learned, however, is that Saturn was on edge for the past two years, so you couldn’t see the broad array of its rings like you normally can.  Fortunately, that’s changed this year!  I have a feeling I will be coming back to Saturn often this year like I did Jupiter last year.  The night sky never ceases to fill me with wonder.

Okay, back to the Super Moon.  In case you missed all the hype, the moon was at its closest point to Earth (perigee), and also happened to be a full moon on Saturday.  It was the closest full moon we've seen since March of 1993.  It rose on Saturday evening, not too long after it turned dark.  It was really perfect timing.  It was also a pretty clear night, with just a bit of haze.  So, I tried to take some pictures with my camera.  Here are some of the better ones I ended up with:

I spend so much time looking at planets and stars, and often don’t take time to reflect on the splendor of our own moon.  It really can be quite beautiful.

As the weather warms up, I’m hoping to be able to get my telescope out on a regular basis and learn to identify some new things in the night sky.  I found a list of things to look out for this month, so I’m hoping to be able to spot some more of those shortly.  Primarily, I hope to be able to find Mercury – I’ve not been able to identify Mercury in the sky before.  I also learned that spring is a good time to spot galaxies – namely the Coma/Virgo Super Cluster, also known as the “Realm of Galaxies.”  After accidentally stumbling upon Andromeda last year, the idea of finding some other galaxies gets me excited!  It’s simply amazing and humbling when you realize the enormity of what you are looking at, and to know that God created it all and still cares deeply for each one of us. 

“When I consider your heavens,
   the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
   which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
   the son of man that you care for him?”
--Psalm 8:3-4

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!