APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Tue Jan 21, 2014 11:01 pm

neufer wrote:
Anthony Barreiro wrote:
Perigees vary much more dramatically than apogees.
My bad.
It's good to be reassured that I'm not the only person who sometimes makes little misteaks.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Nitpicker » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:28 am

rstevenson wrote:
msdjwsun wrote:... an aspect of today's pictures puzzle me.
If I try to see replication of features on the moon at the edges of the the 2 images - in the zone where you can see features in both the apogee and perigee shots, ... I noted that the features do reappear in both images, it is just that the apogee version is rotated about 45 degrees counterclockwise (pls pardon any inaccuracy here, I'm estimating angles with my fingers held over my laptop screen...) relative to the perigee image. ...
Here's an illustration of what you're saying. What I find interesting is that if you compare the red angle between the top pair of features and the yellow angle between the other pair, it's not the same angle. Perhaps I need a libation to understand that libration.
microsupermoon_sciarpetti_960.jpg
Rob
The main reason for the different angle is that, because of libration, the centre of the circle of the Full Moon which appears to us each month, is not the same point on the Moon each month. In other words, the coordinates (0N, 0E) appear to drift around from the centre of the circle of the illuminated Full Moon.

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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by BMAONE23 » Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:44 am

Another similar effect of this is the appearance of the constellations in the eastern sky. First to appear is the pleadies (in Taurus), then the "V" of Taurus, followed by Orion rising on his back. But, as they progress into the western sky, they set with Orion standing and being the first constellation to begin to set

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Re: the apparent rotation of the moon

Post by alter-ego » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:35 am

Hi Art. The apparent tip or "rotation wrt one's horizon is not that simple to be generalized for everyone.
The moon certainly rocks over 24 hours for most locations, but the full 360°rotation occurs only at the lower latitudes where the moon reaches the zenith / nadir. The latitude limits for the full flip is ≈ ±29°. Of course easiest case to consider are earth's poles. When the moon is visible it is visible all day and there is no 24-hour periodic rocking. However, the monthly rocking due to libration is visible.

BTW, your earlier post cracked me up. It does look like I'm mooning :lol2:
Last edited by alter-ego on Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by MarkBour » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:46 am

Are there any similar images (perhaps previous APODs) that show the maximum-sized and minimum-sized Sun? Is the relative difference less?
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by alter-ego » Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:50 am

MarkBour wrote:Are there any similar images (perhaps previous APODs) that show the maximum-sized and minimum-sized Sun? Is the relative difference less?
See the Sun vs. Super Moon APOD. The difference is smaller. The aphelion (Micro) Sun is just over 3% smaller than the perihelion (Super) Sun. Using the deceptively descriptive vernacular, the "Super" Moon is bigger than the "Super Sun."
I also had the same question as you, so back then I also created a similar, closely scaled hover comparison of the Super/Micro Sun to the Super Moon:
Click to view full size image 1 or image 2
Hope this is helpful.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by msdjwsun » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:52 am

Illuminating explanations -thanks, to all -yes I've had that that vague feeling of "doesn't the moon look different at different times of the night" feeling (referring to the differently oriented bit rather than the other differences) but never have come to a conscious recognition or understanding of it. and other topics equally fascinating.
Off to cogitate on all this, but I do need to ask if anyone can give me the recipe for that libration libation?

btw, in view of the fact that I am now engaging in serious procrastination, now I need to find where you have hidden the boss key on this.

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Re: the apparent rotation of the moon

Post by neufer » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:14 pm


alter-ego wrote:
Hi Art. The apparent tip or "rotation wrt one's horizon is not that simple to be generalized for everyone.
The moon certainly rocks over 24 hours for most locations, but the full 360°rotation occurs only at the lower latitudes where the moon reaches the zenith / nadir. The latitude limits for the full flip is ≈ ±29°. Of course easiest case to consider are earth's poles. When the moon is visible it is visible all day and there is no 24-hour periodic rocking. However, the monthly rocking due to libration is visible.
Being visible and accounting for all, or most of, the clockwise/ counterclockwise rotation that is seen in both the APOD and your great as overlay are two different things.

I confess to have greatly oversimplified the case regarding the clockwise/ counterclockwise rotation being linearly related to the number of hours "ante lunar meridiAN"; the moon does wobble back & forth vis-a-vis the local Earth horizon over the course of the night at mid latitudes but in a quasi-sinusoidal fashion NOT in a semicircular fashion as I had argued.

Nonetheless I still stand by my basic argument that libration is a secondary effect in all of this.
Last edited by neufer on Wed Jan 22, 2014 7:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: the apparent rotation of the moon

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:21 pm

Anthony Barreiro wrote:On another note, I'm always surprised by pictures illustrating the difference between the apparent sizes of the Moon at apogee and perigee. Watching the Moon from one night to the next, the change is subtle, and the Moon always looks Moon-sized to me.
However, people tend to fool themselves about what "Moon-sized" is. Its brightness fools us into thinking it's much larger, leading to surprise when we see that it's actually smaller than "small" things like the Pleiades or Orion nebula.
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Re: the apparent rotation of the moon

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Wed Jan 22, 2014 5:32 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Anthony Barreiro wrote:On another note, I'm always surprised by pictures illustrating the difference between the apparent sizes of the Moon at apogee and perigee. Watching the Moon from one night to the next, the change is subtle, and the Moon always looks Moon-sized to me.
However, people tend to fool themselves about what "Moon-sized" is. Its brightness fools us into thinking it's much larger, leading to surprise when we see that it's actually smaller than "small" things like the Pleiades or Orion nebula.
Yes, this is also true. The Moon is a most surprising object of contemplation. So near, so familiar, and yet so mysterious ... .
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Nitpicker » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:18 pm

From most habitable places on Earth, the Moon only appears to rotate from moonrise to moonset, becuase we choose to look at it relative to our local horizon. If we instead look at the Moon in celestial coordinates, by aligning our necks with the Earth's axis of rotation -- i.e. with an equatorially mounted head -- the Moon does not appear to rotate. But it still librates, regardless of how we look at it.

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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:29 pm

Nitpicker wrote:From most habitable places on Earth, the Moon only appears to rotate from moonrise to moonset, becuase we choose to look at it relative to our local horizon. If we instead look at the Moon in celestial coordinates, by aligning our necks with the Earth's axis of rotation -- i.e. with an equatorially mounted head -- the Moon does not appear to rotate. But it still librates, regardless of how we look at it.
Of course, the apparent rotation in the sky is about the axis defined by the center of the Moon and the viewer. Libration- which isn't real motion at all- is approximately (but not exactly) about the Moon's axis of rotation.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:52 pm

Nitpicker wrote:... aligning our necks with the Earth's axis of rotation -- i.e. with an equatorially mounted head ... .
I hope you will change your avatar to illustrate your equatorially mounted head. I want to see how you've done that. I already know the angular width of your thumb at arm's length. :lol2:
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Nitpicker » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:14 am

Chris Peterson wrote:Libration- which isn't real motion at all- is approximately (but not exactly) about the Moon's axis of rotation.
Libration is real relative motion, resulting mainly from the variable orbital speed of the Moon and its constant axial rotation rate. Libration has three main components: longitudinal, latitudinal and diurnal. Longitudinal libration is largest component, and is about the Moon's axis of rotation. But the other components are quite significant, too, in proportion to the entire effect.

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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Nitpicker » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:25 am

Anthony Barreiro wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:... aligning our necks with the Earth's axis of rotation -- i.e. with an equatorially mounted head ... .
I hope you will change your avatar to illustrate your equatorially mounted head. I want to see how you've done that. I already know the angular width of your thumb at arm's length. :lol2:
I'll just describe it instead. It's very easy. In the Northern Hemisphere (only above the tropics for back safety), when the Moon is up and the sky is clear, go outside, stand up straight and face South. Now lean back until the top of your head points to Polaris. Hold that backwards lean. Now, relative to your lean, rotate your head left/right until you reach the Right Ascension of the Moon. Then tilt your head up/down until you reach the Declination of the Moon. If doing this for prolonged periods, you will need to slowly rotate your head to the right, in order to track the Moon accurately.

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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by BMAONE23 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:50 am

Of course it would be easier with the proper chaise lounge having the back reclined at the correct angle
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by neufer » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:18 am

Nitpicker wrote:
From most habitable places on Earth, the Moon only appears to rotate from moonrise to moonset, because we choose to look at it relative to our local horizon. If we instead look at the Moon in celestial coordinates, by aligning our necks with the Earth's axis of rotation -- i.e. with an equatorially mounted head -- the Moon does not appear to rotate.
What if one has a Dobsonian mounted head :?:
:arrow: (; e.g., like an owl.)
Nitpicker wrote:
But it still librates, regardless of how we look at it.
LIBRATE, intransitive verb (L libratus, past part. of librare, fr. libra balance)
  • 1: to vibrate as a balance does before resting in equilibrium
    2: to stay poised (; e.g., UNlike an owl.)
Last edited by neufer on Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:10 am

Nitpicker wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:Libration- which isn't real motion at all- is approximately (but not exactly) about the Moon's axis of rotation.
Libration is real relative motion, resulting mainly from the variable orbital speed of the Moon and its constant axial rotation rate. Libration has three main components: longitudinal, latitudinal and diurnal. Longitudinal libration is largest component, and is about the Moon's axis of rotation. But the other components are quite significant, too, in proportion to the entire effect.
Libration is not real motion. It's an illusion created by our viewpoint, non-circular and tilted orbits. The Moon is rotating uniformly. An accelerometer on it wouldn't show any of the oscillating motion we call libration.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Nitpicker » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:11 am

Chris Peterson wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:
Chris Peterson wrote:Libration- which isn't real motion at all- is approximately (but not exactly) about the Moon's axis of rotation.
Libration is real relative motion, resulting mainly from the variable orbital speed of the Moon and its constant axial rotation rate. Libration has three main components: longitudinal, latitudinal and diurnal. Longitudinal libration is largest component, and is about the Moon's axis of rotation. But the other components are quite significant, too, in proportion to the entire effect.
Libration is not real motion. It's an illusion created by our viewpoint, non-circular and tilted orbits. The Moon is rotating uniformly. An accelerometer on it wouldn't show any of the oscillating motion we call libration.
Libration is real relative motion. The Moon has a constant axial rotation rate, as we've both stated already. Libration is manifested as the illusion of the Moon rotating with a variable rate (and other lesser variabilities). But the illusion is caused by the real motion of (an observer on) the Earth and the Moon, relative to each other.

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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:06 pm

Nitpicker wrote:Libration is real relative motion. The Moon has a constant axial rotation rate, as we've both stated already. Libration is manifested as the illusion of the Moon rotating with a variable rate (and other lesser variabilities). But the illusion is caused by the real motion of (an observer on) the Earth and the Moon, relative to each other.
Understood. But by far, the most common misconception I get in the classroom and at public outreach events is that libration is some kind of actual lunar motion. So I like to emphasize that it's an illusion, not any sort of physical motion. People already seem to have a hard time understanding that tidally locked bodies rotate at all. It just adds to the confusion when they try to picture them rocking- a confusion that has actually increased in recent years with the proliferation of movies showing that apparent rocking motion.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:06 pm

Nitpicker wrote:
Anthony Barreiro wrote:
Nitpicker wrote:... aligning our necks with the Earth's axis of rotation -- i.e. with an equatorially mounted head ... .
I hope you will change your avatar to illustrate your equatorially mounted head. I want to see how you've done that. I already know the angular width of your thumb at arm's length. :lol2:
I'll just describe it instead. It's very easy. In the Northern Hemisphere (only above the tropics for back safety), when the Moon is up and the sky is clear, go outside, stand up straight and face South. Now lean back until the top of your head points to Polaris. Hold that backwards lean. Now, relative to your lean, rotate your head left/right until you reach the Right Ascension of the Moon. Then tilt your head up/down until you reach the Declination of the Moon. If doing this for prolonged periods, you will need to slowly rotate your head to the right, in order to track the Moon accurately.
BMAONE23 wrote:Of course it would be easier with the proper chaise lounge having the back reclined at the correct angle
Paddy O'Furniture says it's less stressful
Yes, a lawn chair would be much more comfortable. As a matter of fact, a reclining lawn chair and a pair of binoculars on a clear warm night is pretty close to my idea of heaven. I don't do a polar alignment of my lawn chair, however. It's not comfortable to crane my neck around to the left or right. Rather, I point the chair toward the approximate azimuth of what I'm going to be looking at, and adjust the height of the seat back so my head will be supported at the right altitude. I once saw an article in Sky and Telescope magazine about a fellow who installed the motors and hand controller from a go-to telescope into a reclining easy chair. Now that would be sweet.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:11 pm

Anthony Barreiro wrote:I once saw an article in Sky and Telescope magazine about a fellow who installed the motors and hand controller from a go-to telescope into a reclining easy chair. Now that would be sweet.
I know a few people who've done that. But keep in mind such designs are always alt-az, so you'll still see the Moon rotating over the course of an evening. Unless you use it at one of the poles, of course. But that kind of eliminates the "warm summer evening" aspect.
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by neufer » Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:50 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Anthony Barreiro wrote:
I once saw an article in Sky and Telescope magazine about a fellow who installed the motors and hand controller from a go-to telescope into a reclining easy chair. Now that would be sweet.
I know a few people who've done that. But keep in mind such designs are always alt-az, so you'll still see the Moon rotating over the course of an evening. Unless you use it at one of the poles, of course. But that kind of eliminates the "warm summer evening" aspect.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/john-dobson-evangelist-for-amateur-astronomy-dies-at-98/2014/01/21/1901f2de-82a2-11e3-8099-9181471f7aaf_story.html wrote:
<<Dobsonian telescopes have made important contributions to astronomy, including the discovery in 1995 of Comet Hale-Bopp, the most-distant comet ever discovered by amateurs. One of its namesakes, Tom Bopp, was using a Dobsonian.

Alborzian, who had known Mr. Dobson since 1968, said he once urged Mr. Dobson to patent his design. He refused. “He said, ‘These are gifts to humanity,’ ” Alborzian recalled. “His goal was to open astronomy to the common man.”

In his 90s, Mr. Dobson was still a gypsy proselytizer for astronomy, lecturing and giving workshops as far away as Russia and China. Used to the most Spartan accommodations, he was known to sleep inside a telescope’s cylindrical tubes when he was on the road. “There’s one thing nice about sleeping in a telescope,” he told the Ventura County Star in 2007. “You can’t roll out of bed.”>>
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:38 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:
Anthony Barreiro wrote:I once saw an article in Sky and Telescope magazine about a fellow who installed the motors and hand controller from a go-to telescope into a reclining easy chair. Now that would be sweet.
I know a few people who've done that. But keep in mind such designs are always alt-az, so you'll still see the Moon rotating over the course of an evening. Unless you use it at one of the poles, of course. But that kind of eliminates the "warm summer evening" aspect.
You could bolt the chair on a platform tilted at 90 degrees minus your latitude, and use a harness to strap yourself in. An equatorial wedge lazy boy. Although that might be a lot of work simply to keep Mare Frigoris at the top of the Moon (or the bottom if you're down under).
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Re: APOD: Micro Moon over Super Moon (2014 Jan 21)

Post by Chris Peterson » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:44 pm

Anthony Barreiro wrote:You could bolt the chair on a platform tilted at 90 degrees minus your latitude, and use a harness to strap yourself in. An equatorial wedge lazy boy.
Knock yourself out (but hopefully not literally!) Be sure to post a picture when you've got it working.
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