Catching Sight of the Super Tiny Moon Above Portland, Oregon
(Portland, Oregon) - This morning sees the coming of the “Super Tiny Moon” above Oregon, happening approximately 6:46 a.m. on November 28. It's the opposite of the so-called “Supermoon” - which, according to OMSI's Jim Todd is quite over-exaggerated. (Above: the tiny moon above OMSI, around 1 a.m.)
The Super Tiny Moon is the result of the moon being at its apogee – the farthest point in its orbit around the Earth.
Interestingly enough, a penumbral lunar eclipse will occur in the morning as well. And top of all these astronomical pleasures, Jupiter can be seen trailing nearby.
“Unfortunately for Portland, the lunar eclipse will have ended by the time the moon sets in west,” Todd said. “The Earth’s shadow has two parts: a dark inner umbra and a lighter surrounding penumbra. It’s this lighter penumbral shadow of Earth that the moon will enter on November 28, 2012. Some viewers cannot detect a difference on the moon’s face during a penumbral eclipse, even while the eclipse is in progress. Others will walk outside, unaware that an eclipse is happening, and say, 'Hey, what’s going on with the Moon?!' “
Above: the tiny moon near Space Room, on Hawthorne, in Portland.
Meanwhile, the size of the Moon when it's near the horizon can play some tricks on the eyes. Something called a “moon illusion” can make it look bigger.
“The illusion is a matter of perception, a trick of the brain, which perceives the Moon as closer when seen overhead when seen on the horizon” Todd said. “When an object is perceived to be nearer, the brain may compensate by making it look smaller to us. Likewise, an object thought to be farther away will be seen as larger.”
For those in Portland, first contact with the penumbra occurs at 4:14 am PST with the moon 30 degrees above the western horizon. Todd said it will not be visible to the naked eye. The eclipse will be at its greatest coverage about 6:33 a.m. as the moon is just seven degrees above the horizon.
For about 30 minutes before and after the eclipse’s maximum, a light grey shading will be seen along the moon’s northern limb. The moon will set at 7:29 am PST with the eclipse in progress. The last contact with the moon leaving the earth's shadow will be at 8:51 am PST at 12 degrees below the horizon.
Todd said to keep an eye on Jupiter, which will be just above the moon much of the time – and quite brilliant.
“The next total lunar eclipse will occur near midnight of April 14, 2014,” Todd said. “It will be easily visible for all of the Pacific Northwest.”
Above: by 4 a.m. the clouds had covered the sky and no moon was visible, seen here from the Hillsdale area of SW Portland.