The proxigean, perigean Moon

By Phil Plait | March 19, 2011 8:49 pm

You know what? Super or not, the full Moon rising into a thin cloud bank is always going to be cool.

I just took this from the end of my driveway, with my camera on a cheap tripod and a few seconds exposure. No tricks, no Photoshopping (except to crop it a bit). You can almost hear the werewolf howling, can’t you?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures
MORE ABOUT: Moon, perigee

Comments (47)

Links to this Post

  1. Supermoon « Sphaerula | March 20, 2011
  1. Eva

    Waiting for a Tim Burton’s character to pop up :)
    Beautiful moon!

  2. Great shot! You could use that for your Hallowe’en cards this year. Thanks.

  3. Rallick

    Beautiful shot, Phil. And sorry about the noise, I will try to keep the howling down in future. *ahem*

  4. Kristi Skinner

    This is a stunning photo! And now I have Warren Zevon stuck in my head.

  5. Faucher

    Absolutely beautiful. Your driveway must be a wonderful place to be.

  6. Luann

    That moon looks dope.
    Too bad it’s cloudy in my city tonight, I couldn’t see a thing :(

  7. Conrad

    Where’s the embiggen?

  8. That is a beautiful photo! Thanks for posting it! I’m running outside now. :)

  9. elmoodio

    Stay off of the moors!

  10. Jim Cruff

    I am surprised you went outside tonight, Phil. Aren’t you afraid of the extra gravitational pull tonight? The earth might opening and swallowing you up?

  11. Beautiful, awesome shot… I wish I had more trees around where I live.
    I love how the moon looks through clouds and trees. Here’s mine…

  12. Marina Stern

    The extra gravitational pull might pull you up to the moon!

    Beautiful shot. Thanks for posting; my town’s socked in.

  13. James H.

    Reminds me of some Creedence, and some misheard lyrics:
    I see the bad moon risin…..
    (later on in the song)
    …there’s a bathroom on the right.

  14. eGod

    HAHA I like the werewolf reference. I’m in boulder too and it has been unfortunately cloudy, I just got a telescope and have not been able to use it yet.

  15. Keith Bowden

    No fun here… heavy rains…


    Is it any wonder we hate to see The sun go down And is it any wonder we hate to see The full moon coming around

  16. John Baxter

    It was great here too (most unusual–clouds are normal). Our cloud bank was a bit thicker though.

    Lots of people on the ferry were talking about the moon (usually the count is zero).

    Two people sitting behind me on the east/west ferry wanted to watch the moon rise. So they went out the west end of the boat. (At that time the moon was still blocked by the clouds.) Dr. Plait, you have more work to do.

  17. This is all we got here in Northern CA:

  18. I got a few shots tonight. Had to get them after seeing the legendary Bernadette Peters in concert so didn’t get the rising Moon shots, but still found a couple of interesting backgrounds.

  19. Sticks

    I used to be a wear wolf, but I’m all right Nowwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  20. mjcowley

    Nice shot. It’s too cloudy at the moment down here in Australia :(

  21. Linda

    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing :-)

  22. Aaron

    Hey! I saw the same thing (thin cloud layer, tree silhouette, supermoon) here in Ohio! (Although I did also have a bright sodium lamp shining in my face . . .)

  23. How pretty picture is!! Fantastich

  24. Bee

    Great photo! Do you have a higher resolution? Would make a nice desktop background.

  25. Darwin

    not…clickable……ugh :(

  26. I made a comparative shot of yesterday’s “Super full moon” comparing it to an earlier “average” full moon. It can be seen here:

    Both images were made using the same lens & camera.

  27. owlbear1

    My cat got stuck in a tree last night and Supermoon did nothing to help.

  28. Superwerewolf, Phil. Superwerewolf.

  29. Alan D

    A rare clear night and a lovely Moon here last night.

    One minor issue, I believe it is perigean, not perigeean, and proxigean, not proxigian.

    “The Stategic Role of Perigean Spring Tides (In Nautical History and North American Coastal Flooding, 1635 – 1976),” by Fergus J. Wood. Wood appears to have coined the term proxigee.

    Clear skies, Alan

  30. Dennis

    All I know is that my mane and beard were fuller (and shinier and bouncier!) than they had been in years. Aaaaaaoooooooooooooooooooo! Ao, Ao, Ao, Aaaaaooooooooooooooo!

    It was really a special night. Supermoon, Saturday Night and approaching Vernal Equinox combined!

  31. scgvlmike

    Gorgeous photo, and your comment about being to hear the wolf howling reminded me of this:

    (don’t bother buying the shirt, it’s your basic three wolves against a moon backdrop crap, but the reviews are awesomeness defined!)

  32. Thameron

    Just because you guys have trouble getting razor blades up there in the mountains is no reason to be calling people there ‘werewolves’.

  33. katwagner

    It was cloudy here at moonrise but cleared off later and the two doggies didn’t know if it was day or night. So bright on the snow! I didn’t think about it til this morning but I shoulda taken them for a moonlight hike because it was beautiful!

  34. katwagner

    “…that big, fat moon is gonna shine like a spoon. But we’re gonna let it. You won’t regret it. Kick your shoes off, do not fear. Bring that bottle over here. Cause I’ll be your baby tonight.”

    With apologies to Bob Dylan – that’s the song I had in my head all night.

  35. death ray

    This could be great album art for a black metal band.

  36. oldebabe

    Spooky? No.
    Mysterious? Perhaps.
    Lovely? Yes.

  37. This is very good. Is Mr.Plait an artist too? It reminds me of the way the visuals have been slightly cropped out at the edges on the current UK series Wonders of the Universe, presented by Prof Brain Cox. You can just imagine Mr Cox suddenly popping his head out in this picture just ready to talk about some wonder of the universe with the start of a music track by Abba blaring out in the background. The Visitors?

  38. Nigel Depledge

    @ Death Ray (39) –
    I think it would suit goth metal more.

  39. Gary Ansorge

    Wherewolf of London,,,THERE, wolf of London,,,

    Great moon shot. Reminds me of when I was a youngling, riding thru an Arab town one night in a bus, mooning the local population. I know they thought we were nuts.

    Saw a triple moonbow over Berkeley one night in 1997. The clouds were just right.

    Gary 7

  40. davidlpf

    No werewolves but heard a lot of coyotes and dogs howling and barking at the moon early Sunday morning.

  41. Woody

    My buddy took shots of the perigee moon and saturn through my 8″ scope on Saturday.

  42. mike burkhart

    In some werewolf movies the warewolf could change any time with out the full moon. (see the Howling) I think Phil said something about the idea of volient crime, accidents, and other bad things happening more often during a full moon then at other times in the Bad Astronomy book. this picture of the moon would have been better if it was’nt covered by clouds. In fact this could be mistaken by some for a UFO. By the way Phil are you ever going to write Bad Astronomy 2 ?

  43. Bruce Almighty

    “There, wolf. There, castle.”
    “Why are you talking like that?”
    “I thought you wanted to. Suit yourself…”


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