The Sturgeon Moon

August 12th was the last supermoon of 2022. This was the fourth supermoon in a row during 2022. Though that may sound like a lot, it’s actually somewhat of a normal number. 2023 features four supermoons, and 2024 featuring three. Supermoons are spectacular astronomical events. They occur when the full moon coincides with the moon’s closest orbit of Earth, this is usually within 90% of the closest approach. The moon orbits anywhere from about 221,000 (perigree (closest to Earth)) – 258,000 (apogee (furthest from Earth)) miles from Earth.

The August full moon is called The Sturgeon Moon. This refers to the sturgeon fish that populate North America’s waterways. These fish are prominent in the Great Lakes during August. White Sturgeon are the biggest freshwater fish in North America, weighing nearly 1,800 pounds, and measuring up to 22 feet long. These fish were very important to Native Americans, and thus they named the August moon after it.

Luckily enough, weather and viewing conditions were phenomenal. I was extremely excited for this event. This was my first official night of astrophotography. I wasn’t too concerned on finding a good location. The moon is big and bright enough that light pollution isn’t too big of a concern. Though, it would have been nice to get somewhere a little bit darker. Saturn and Neptune were both very close to the moon that night. It would have been great getting them in the picture with the moon, but that’s alright.

I started out with my 55-250mm lens and zoomed in all the way I could on the moon. I believe I set my aperture to f/11 or so. The moon was very bright that night. I used 1/60 second shutter speed, and ISO of 400. After a bit of editing to reduce exposure, I came up with this photo.

I tried doing longer exposures to let some of the stars/planets shine through a bit, but I couldn’t get a good picture with both the background and the moon. I will have to do a bit more research into others get good photos of both the stars and the moon. Every photo I took the moon was the clear subject, and overpowered all other lights, especially the stars in the background. But that’s all good, as the moon was my main focus anyway.

I’m thrilled with how these all turned out! The only mistake I made was shooting in JPG instead of RAW. I’ve been meaning to shoot more in RAW to get the best quality, but I keep forgetting. I will 100% make sure that I shoot RAW for the Milky Way shoot on August 27th. That’s my next mission. The galactic core is in prime position for viewing. That night is a new moon, so there will be no moon illumination. I just have to continue scouting for a good area with minimal light pollution. This is proving to be a pretty difficult task here in Northeast Ohio. Lot of major cities up here. I’ve narrowed it down to a few spots though.

I’m gonna invest in a Skywatcher mount for my tripod soon. This will allow me to gather very long exposures of deep space objects without stars streaking in my photos. My niece has had a Celestron 70EQ telescope for a few years, but hasn’t used it much. I might try and find a mount to get some good photos. I was gonna break it out for the supermoon, but I couldn’t get the part ordered in time.

That’s all for this post. I’ve been working quite a lot lately and haven’t been able to get out and get some good pictures. I really want to try and find some wildlife to photograph soon. Squirrels, deer, groundhogs, anything really. Hopefully I can get another post put together soon! Hope you all enjoyed!

Until next time!

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