Strawberry Moon Illusion
Tom O'Donoghue

Strawberry Moon Illusion

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This photo was taken over a single night on the 27th / 28th of June 2018. On the 27th of June 2017, the night of the Strawberry Full Moon, the Moon rose in the East at 127 degrees as the Sun was still +2 degrees above the horizon. By 05:25 the Moon has set at 231 degrees as the Sun was at -1 degree below the horizon.

The idea of this photo was to show how, as the Moon rises and sets, its apparent size in the sky changes relative to the observer and how its colour changes as the Moon moves across the night sky.

The change in the colour is due to refraction of the light through the Earth's atmosphere. Red is less refracted and so the Moon appears redder, the lower it is in the sky. As the Moon rises, less Blue and Green is refracted, and the colour starts to return, until the Moon rises higher. The reverse effect occurs as the Moon starts to set.

The apparent change in size is due to our perception of distant objects against a horizon, and also how we see the sky as a flattened curve near the horizons, in effect magnifying the objects. Objects such as Constellations also appear large to the eye as they are near the horizon, and seem to get smaller as they rise. In reality, the Moon remains the same size regardless of the altitude in the sky.

I had been planning this shot for over a year, waiting on a Full Moon and a clear night. This gave me only 12 -13 chances a year. I took this from the Beacon, at Baltimore Cork. I used a 14mm lens to get a 5 frame pano background at Sunset. Then I took my first image of the Moon at 200mm, zooming out for each subsequent shot to show the effect our eyes sees until my lens was back at 70mm. Throughout the night, I took shots at 30min intervals, still at 70mm, until the last 90mins before setting in the early morning, I began to zoom from 70mm back to 200mm as the Moon set in the West.

This photo shows where the Moon rose and set on the 8 hour shoot. The colour of the Moon was true with no adjustments made.

Note: All our prints are printed on Baryta 325g Paper, which is an excellent paper for framing. The paper is a gloss type, which gives very vivid colour views.