Archive for August 8, 2014

08/08/2014 – Ephemeris – Supermoon plus astronomical fun in the Grand Traverse Area

August 8, 2014 Comments off

Ephemeris for Friday, August 8th.  The sun rises at 6:36.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 21 minutes, setting at 8:58.   The moon, 2 days before full, will set at 5:17 tomorrow morning.

In two days the Moon will reach perigee within a few hours of being a full moon.  This has become known as a supermoon.  Perigee is the point where an Earth orbiting object is closest to the Earth.  The farthest point is called apogee.  The coincidence of full moon and perigee was coined as the supermoon by astrologer Richard Knolle in 1979, but apparently didn’t catch on until he wrote a popular article in 2011.  No wonder I hadn’t heard of it, this program had been on for 4 years before the term was even coined.  The problem with appreciating the supermoon is the lack of a reference of nearly the same size.  The moon always looks large when it’s near the horizon.  It’s a well-known optical illusion,  It’ll fool us every time.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan.  They may be different for your location.


Saturday evening the 9th the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS) will host a Sun and Star Party at Thoreson Farm at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  It’s the concluding event at the Port Oneida Fair.  Solar viewing will be from 4 to 6 p.m., and the evening event will run from 9 to 11 p.m. with the main attraction will be the nearly full Moon, the planet Saturn and colorful binary stars and bright star clusters.  Thoreson Farm is located on South Thoreson Road.  South Thoreson Road runs into M22, about a mile west of Port Oneida Road.

Sunday evening the 10th the GTAS will attend the Meteors and S’mores event at the Leelanau State Park at the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula.  The event will run from 8:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.  The Perseid meteor shower will reach peak a couple of days later, but there will still bright Perseids visible to the vigilant.

I’ll have more to say about the supermoon tomorrow in a non-Ephemeris post.