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December 4, 2022

This Week in H’burg… …Sturgeon Moon

Superman? No, Supermoon

August 11th’s supermoon was the last of 2022. August supermoons are also called Sturgeon Moons, from a Native American tradition recognizing August as the month for catching these large fish in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain and the Hudson River. This rising moon was photographed over Dry Creek Valley.

Fun facts: Supermoons are larger than normal moons because they are slightly closer to the earth; a small change in elliptical orbit creates a large effect. A full moon always rises at sunset, while a new moon rises at sunrise. A first quarter moon rises around noon, and a last quarter moon rises around midnight. There are eight phases in the moon’s orbital cycle:  1) new, 2) waxing crescent, 3) first quarter, 4) waxing gibbous, 5) full moon, 6) waning gibbous, 7) last quarter or third quarter moon and 8) waning crescent. Waxing moons build from the bottom up, waning moons erode from the top down. The term gibbous relates to a word meaning “hunch-backed.” A quarter moon is seen as a half moon from earth. Daytime moons are never visible during a full moon or new moon. A waxing gibbous moon is relatively easy to see in daytime because its lit side faces earth. A waxing crescent moon is that small smile of a moon seen in the western sky, lasting a short time then following the setting sun below the horizon. This sliver moon is not created by the shadow of the sun, but by the moon itself. It’s the moon’s own shadow. We see a small segment of the day side of the moon. On the other hand, during a full moon we see a completely lit face of the moon rising at sunset, illuminating the night sky for 12 hours. All objects in the sky rise in the east and set in the west. This is due to the rotation of the Earth on its axis, spinning at about 1,000 mph.

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