Supermoon: First Day Of Summer 2013 Features Awesome Night Sky

Today is the first day of summer in 2013 (and Supermoon!), and while yesterday’s solstice  — undoubtedly noted by your pagan friends over on Facebook — is when summer starts, June 22 is the first whole summer day.

The first day of summer 2013 is marked by another thing of which we Earth dwellers can’t seem to get enough — a Supermoon will be part of tonight’s sky, which together with the summer thing is a perfect excuse for a Supermoon party.

The first day of summer’s Supermoon sounds like one of those overblown sky phenomenons we hear about every few weeks, but the event is a genuine if subtle one.

The moon will be biggest and brightest to human eyes tonight, inspiring the “Supermoon” moniker, so it’s not doing any tricks for us per se — Christian Science Monitor explains:

“Supermoons occur once a year. This month’s super-strawberry moon will be (slightly) larger and brighter than others because its full-moon phase comes as the moon makes its closest approach to Earth … Sunday night, the moon’s perigee will come within 356,989 km of Earth, about 2 percent closer than average. And the moon reaches full status about 20 minutes after perigee.”

But the first day of summer’s Supermoon is another value-add for sky watchers, as Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory explains to the site:

It gets people out there looking at the moon, and might make a few more people aware that there’s interesting stuff going on in the night sky.

If your first day of summer plans involve Supermoon pics, LiveScience spoke with a photographer who tells us why moon pictures, for lack of a better word, generally suck.

Iowa-based photographer Jason Mrachina tells the science site of Supermoon pics:

“To your camera, the moon is extremely bright, especially compared to a black background … It’s kind of akin to taking a picture of a bare light bulb in a black room, and wondering why you can’t see the filament. When you’re shooting at night, the relative difference between light and dark is extremely high, so you have to take that into consideration.”

Noting that a long lens and tripod are essential for moon pics, Mrachina says that if you plan on taking Instagram Supermoon pics with your iPhone or Android, you’re going to have a bad time:

“If you take the photo with a camera phone, or a wide-angle point-and-shoot without an optical zoom, you’re going to be unhappy because the moon is going to look tiny in the image … With too wide of an angle, you don’t get much of the moon to fill the frame.”

Do your first day of summer 2013 plans involve a Supermoon party?