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A full Blue Moon will rise this weekend and is the second and final Blue Moon of 2018.
A blue moon is defined as the second full moon to rise within a single calendar month – the next monthly Blue Moon will not occur until October 31, 2020.
The first Blue Moon of the year was on January 31 and as it coincided with a total lunar eclipse and a supermoon, because of this it was labelled a super blue blood moon.
Blue moons are a rare phenomenon and usually happen once very two or three years.
The last full moon – also known as the worm moon – was on Friday, March 2.
As February was a short month this year, it caused the full moon to occur early on March and so there was enough time for one to form later in the month – full moons occur every 29 days.
Affelia Wibisono, astronomer at Royal Observatory Greenwich said the moon will be visible throughout the night.
She said: “The moon will rise at 7.30pm and weather permitting it will be visible for the entire night.
“It will rise in the south east and head towards the west throughout the night.”
Blue Moon 2018: The blue moon will be visible throughout the night tonight
How to photograph the Blue Moon
Canon ambassador and landscape photographer, David Norton, has provided his top tips for photographing the Blue Moon tonight.
1. Download the right apps
Make sure you download the right apps before Saturday, to understand the behaviour of the moon.
Mr Norton said: “The sun’s position in the sky at any given time of day varies massively with latitude and season. That is not the case with the moon as its passage through the heavens is governed by its complex elliptical orbit of the earth. That orbit results in monthly, rather than seasonal variations, as the moon moves through its lunar cycle.
“The result is big differences in the timing of its appearance and its trajectory through the sky. Luckily, we no longer need to rely on weight tables to consult the behaviour of the moon, we can simply download an app on to our phone. The Photographer’s Ephemeris is useful for giving moonrise and moonset times, bearings and phases; while the Photopills app gives comprehensive information on the position of the moon in our sky.
2. Invest in a lens with optimal zoom
“On Saturday, one of the key challenges we’ll face is shooting the moon large in the frame so we can see every crater on the asteroid pockmarked surface. It’s a task normally reserved for astronomers with super powerful telescopes, but if you’ve got a long telephoto lens on a full frame DSLR with around 600 mm of focal length, it can be done, depending on the composition. I will be using the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV with an EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Ext. 1.4 x lens,” Mr Norton said.
Blue Moon 2018: A professional photographer has shared his tips on how to photograph the full moon
3. Use a tripod to capture the intimate details
Photographers may be tempted to shoot by hand, rather than using a tripod, Mr Norton explained, however relying on a tripod is a better way to go.
He said: “As you frame up your shot, one thing will become immediately apparent; lunar tracking is incredibly challenging as the moon moves through the sky surprisingly quickly.
“As you’ll be using a long lens for this shoot, it is important to invest in a sturdy tripod to help capture the best possible image,” M It will be tempting to take the shot by hand, it’s important to remember that your subject is over 384,000km away from you and even with a high shutter speed, the slightest of movements will become exaggerated.”
4. Integrate the moon into your landscape
Mr Norton advised trying to use the moonlight as a light source, although this is tricky to do as the amount of light the moon reflects is tiny but the lunar surface is bright in comparison.
“Up to now, night photography meant long, long exposures but with cameras such as the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II and the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV now capable of astonishing low light performance, a whole new nocturnal world of opportunities has been opened to photographers,” he said.
Blue Moon 2018: View of the Blue Moon from the village of Sant Elm, in Majorca Island, eastern Spain
5. Master the shutter speed for your subject
“The most evocative and genuine use of the moon in landscape portraits results from situations when the light on the moon balances with the twilight in the surrounding sky. Such images have a subtle appeal, mood and believability,” Mr Norton added.
“By definition, any scene incorporating a medium or wide-angle view is going to render the moon as a tiny pin prick of light, but its presence will still be felt. Our eyes naturally gravitate to it, however insignificant it may seem. Of course, the issue of shutter speed is always there; too slow an exposure and all we’ll see is an unsightly lunar streak, even with a wide-angle lens.
“On a clear night, mastering the shutter speed of your camera is integral to capturing the moon – exposing at 1/250 sec @ f8 ISO 100 (depending on focal length) is what you’ll need to stop the motion from blurring and if you are to get the technique right, with the high quality of cameras such as the Canon EOS 5DS R, you might even be able to see the twelve cameras that were left up there by NASA in the 60’s!”