Have no fear, the supermoon is here. Again. It's the time of year when the moon will spend the night closer to the earth than any other night of the year. We're here to make sure you sound like the smartest star-gazer at the party: here's everything you need to know about the very large, very Instagrammable moon. Once a year the moon spends one night all snuggled up with the earth. And that night is here! The moon will be roughly 221,824 miles from Earth on Sunday night, its closest point of the year, making it seem 14% bigger and 30% brighter than the pedestrian moons we're used to. It also just so happens to be a full moon. So yeah, technically the supermoon isn't until Sunday night but it's still going to look plenty big on Saturday night when you're out with your friends, a little lubricated and ready to snap pictures of just about anything. You can look up when the supermoon will shine brightest in your sky on the US Naval Observatory website. Last year, we explained how the supermoon won't drive you crazy or sink your ship or ruin the Internet. There's no reason to be afraid of the supermoon. With that in mind, here are a few more things to consider:
What If I Don't Want to Look at the Supermoon?
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Let's say you're a little superstitious of this extra large moon that will be bombarding your skyline this evening. It's big. It's unusual. You don't trust it. It smells funny.* You don't want to acknowledge that the moon is so big, even though it's only for one night of the year. The moon shouldn't change! Change is scary! Well, turns out there's something you can do: don't look at the supermoon. Ignore it. Or you can go in the other direction and take the advice space expert Heather Couper gave the BBC:
She suggested it might be possible to dispel the illusion by turning away from the Moon, bending over and looking at the sky from between your legs.
Get all of your friends to do it too so you don't feel so weird. Just make sure someone gets a picture.
How to Instagram the Supermoon
Let's be honest for a change: we're all going to Instagram the supermoon. Literally everyone on earth with a cell phone will snap a picture of this thing between Saturday and Sunday night. And that's why Wired made a guide catered specifically to snapping the best picture possible. They cater their instructions to pros using DSLR cameras and joes using their smart phones. You're going to need a steady hand and the ability to alter your camera's exposure. But the most important part, regardless of your equipment, is patience:
This isn’t an action shot. This is a photo of a slow-moving celestial object. You’re going to have to take multiple test shots to get your exposure correct. Once that’s dialed in, start taking photos. Move the camera around to adjust the scene. Remember your composition is just as important as your exposure.
So, yeah, prepare yourself for a whole lotta pictures of this thing before the weekend is over. It might get obnoxious. Though, to be fair, there are worse things you could do on your Sunday or Monday morning than looking at pictures of the coolest moon of the year. Last year's pictures were spectacular. So, you know, don't be a supermoon hater.
But What If I Miss It?
Here's the thing: you don't need to see the supermoon this weekend. The world isn't going to end if you stay in your basement watching movies until Monday morning without surfacing for air. The supermoon will be back next year and it's going to be bigger and brighter than ever. In fact, two years from now there's going to be the superest supermoon yet: "If you're looking for a more thrilling lunar event, a larger supermoon is expected on Sept. 28, 2015, and the largest supermoon until 2034 will occur on Nov. 14, 2016." But do you want to save your supermoon cherry for the year before it starts an eighteen year decline? No, you want to be the person who was looking at the supermoon before it was cool. Be a supermoon hipster and look up this weekend.