Supermoon 2017: How to see, photograph the majestic ‘Full Cold Moon’ this weekend

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 9:35 AM

Different Kinds of Moons

This weekend, stargazers and space junkies everywhere can revel in the celestial wonder of 2017’s first and last visible “supermoon.”

Here’s what you need to know about supermoons and the “Full Cold Moon” this weekend.

The moon rises behind the castle of Almodovar in Cordoba, southern Spain, on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016. The Supermoon on November 14, 2016, will be the closest a full moon has been to Earth since January 26, 1948. (AP Photo/Miguel Morenatti)(Miguel Morenatti)

What is a supermoon?

According to NASA, the moniker was coined by an astrologer in 1979 and is often used to describe a full moon happening near or at the time when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit around Earth.

» RELATED: Photos: Supermoon brightens night sky

Supermoons may appear as much as 14 percent closer and 30 percent brighter than the moon on an average night.

In much of the northern hemisphere, the December supermoon is considered a “Full Cold Moon” for the seasonal weather.

>> Read more trending news 

When will this weekend’s supermoon be closest to Earth?

The moon will become totally full at 10:47 a.m. EST on Sunday, Dec. 3 and will rise Sunday evening, around 6 p.m. EST.

It will reach perigee (the closest point in its orbit around Earth) at 3:45 a.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 4.

» RELATED: Dazzling Geminid meteor shower to light up the holiday season: How, when to watch

How far will the moon be from Earth when it reaches perigee?

At perigee, according to Space.com, the moon will be approximately 222,135 miles away from Earth.

How far is the moon normally from Earth?

The moon’s average distance from Earth is approximately 238,000 miles.

» RELATED: See the supermoon shine over Atlanta

When is the best time to see the Dec. 3 supermoon?

In Atlanta, the supermoon rises at approximately 5:57 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, according to timeanddate.com.

To see the supermoon in all its glory, tune in when it reaches perigee around 3:45 a.m. EST.

Moonset will be at approximately 8:17 a.m. Monday.

If you miss the moon at perigee, don’t worry. The large moon will still be around for a few days. It just won’t be a complete full moon.

To see when the supermoon will reach perigree where you live, just plug in your city at timeanddate.com and hit the search button.

Where are the best places to see the supermoon?

Wherever the sky is clear and the moon is visible is an ideal place from which to experience the spectacle. 

But if you’re really up to making an adventure out of it, consider heading to a state park.

» RELATED: Your comprehensive guide to Georgia's state parks

Stephen C. Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp is notorious for being one of the best spots in the world for star gazing and is named a gold-tier “International Dark Sky Park.”

You can also make your way to one of the nine best places to see stars around Atlanta.

Any of those spots would make great viewpoints for a supermoon, too. 

» RELATED: Best spots in Cobb to enjoy the supermoon

What is the weather forecast for the Dec. 3 supermoon?

According to Weather.com meteorologist Chris Dolce, parts of the southeast coast (including Florida) have the highest odds of clear skies Sunday.

Depending on how quickly a weather system moves through the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, those areas may also have good viewing conditions, he said.

» RELATED: Eerie, awe-inspiring: 5 ways to explore Georgia's new Dark Sky Park

However, Dolce said parts of the central and western states may experience cloud cover.

"It's too early to pinpoint areas that will have the best viewing conditions since it will depend on the evolution of that weather system and how fast it moves east," he said.

Best ways to photograph the Dec. 3 supermoon?

According to National Geographic, seeing the supermoon near the horizon with buildings, trees or mountains for scale will make the moon appear slightly larger in your photos, even though it isn’t.

“Don’t make the mistake of photographing the moon by itself, with no reference to anything,” Bill Ingalls, a senior photographer for NASA, told National Geographic last year. “Instead, think of how to make the image creative—that means tying it into some land-based object. It can be a local landmark or anything to give your photo a sense of place.”

Other photo tips from National Geographic staff photographers:

  • Shoot with the same exposure you would in daylight on Earth.
  • Don’t leave your camera shutter open too long. This will make the moon appear too bright and you won’t be able to photograph lunar detail.
  • If you’re using your smartphone, use your optical lens only. 
  • If you’re using your smartphone, do not use your digital zoom. This will decrease the quality of your photo. Instead, take the photo and zoom or crop later.
  • Use a tripod or a solid surface to keep your phone stabilized.
  • Use your fingers to adjust the light balance and capture the lunar detail.

More from National Geographic.

When was the last supermoon?

The last supermoon was on June 24, but it was technically a new moon.

The last visible supermoon was on Nov. 14, 2016 and it was the “closest” full moon to date of the 21st century, approximately 227,000 miles from Earth at perigee.

» RELATED: Photos: Amazing NASA photos through the years

When is the next visible supermoon?

The next visible supermoon will rise on New Year’s Day: Monday, Jan. 1. At perigee, the moon will be approximately 221,559 miles from Earth.

Learn more about the Dec. 3 supermoon at Space.com.

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WATCH: Car thieves abduct 6-year-old from day care parking lot

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 2:06 AM

Image courtesy Clayton County police
Clayton County police
Image courtesy Clayton County police(Clayton County police)

A 6-year-old child was abducted early Tuesday after two car thefts at a Georgia day care, authorities said. 

>> Watch the video here

About five minutes after the car thefts, the child was seen on surveillance video walking back to the Childcare Network Daycare, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said. It’s not known where he was abandoned. 

Three men are sought in connection with the crimes at the day care, located in the 6000 block of Fayetteville Road in Riverdale, police said. 

About 7:25 a.m., Clayton County police were called to the day care in reference to two stolen vehicles left running and unattended. 

Surveillance video showed a silver Nissan Altima parking next to a gray 2016 Chrysler 300. A man in the front passenger seat of the Nissan jumped into the Chrysler’s front passenger seat. Moments later, the Chrysler drove away. 

Not long after the theft, the Nissan drove to another location in the day care parking lot and made an abrupt stop at a white 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe, Clayton County police said. The Hyundai, which had a 6-year-old inside, was also left running and unattended.

A person in the back seat of the Nissan hopped out, got into the Hyundai and sped away, police said. 

>> Read more trending news 

In under a minute, all three cars were seen on surveillance video leaving the day care parking lot. 

Shortly after, the child was seen walking back to the day care and was reunited with his mom. He was not injured. 

Police later found the Hyundai Santa Fe at the intersection of East Faytetteville Road and Evans Drive — less than a mile from the day care. The Chrysler 300 has not been found

Earlier this year, Clayton County police rescued two girls after someone stole an SUV with them inside from a gas station. A baby and her 4-year-old sister were dumped on the side of the road miles apart in freezing temperatures. Authorities arrested Khyree Swift and a 16-year-old in connection with the crime. 

Anyone who may have information on Tuesday’s case or the identity of the suspects is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 404-577-8477. 

Related

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'Tick explosion' coming this summer, expert warns

Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 1:39 AM

What You Need to Know: Ticks

Now that summer is just around the corner, experts are warning that ticks will be coming back in full force.

>> Watch the news report here

One tick expert in New England told Boston's WFXT that the warmer weather will cause what he called a "tick explosion."

The tiny, pesky and possibly harmful arachnids are about to spring into action, and everyone should be extra vigilant.

>> Tick spreading in the US gives people meat allergies

"They're up and looking for a host hoping something will walk by that they can latch on," said Dr. Thomas Mather, aka "The Tick Guy."

Mather said this season is prime for ticks, and his website, tickencounter.org, shows the type to watch out for in New England this season is the deer tick because it spreads Lyme disease.

"It's very important because around here it's the worst for Lyme disease more than anywhere else in the nation," Mather said.

The website also lists high tick activity in most of the eastern United States, as well as the Midwest, Plains states and West Coast. Deer ticks are the most prevalent species in the Northeast and Midwest, while Lone Star ticks dominate in the Southeast and much of the Central U.S. Wood ticks are more common in the Mountain region, and Pacific Coast ticks are prevalent on the West Coast, the site said. Learn more here.

>> Rare tick-borne illness worries some medical professionals

Stephen Novick of Boston-based FlyFoe said his business is extremely busy since the ticks never really went away.

"We had a mild winter, didn’t freeze too much, and because of that, the animal populations were active longer, and that enabled the tick populations to be active," he said.

Deer, chipmunks and rodents all carry ticks. Spraying is one way to keep ticks out of your yard.

You may even opt for a garlic-based, organic repellent or a store-bought pesticide.

"The pesticide is the lowest rated by the EPA, so it’s also super safe," Novick said.

The pesticide is used for flea and tick collars for pets. 

>> Read more trending news 

Spraying has to be done once a month to keep ticks at bay, but for many it's the best alternative as it provides peace of mind.

Ticks usually hide in tall grass, so if you go hiking or walking in the woods, make sure to wear long-sleeve shirts and pants or get tick repellent clothing, use bug spray and always check yourself for ticks after being outdoors.

Checking for ticks is always important because if you happen to have been bitten, the quicker you remove the tick, the less likely it is that it will transmit any diseases.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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Atlanta’s ex-mayor Kasim Reed doles out $500k in bonuses, gifts on way out

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 10:26 PM

Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed defended his holiday spending in 2017 by saying “the individuals who received the bonuses were worthy of them based upon their contributions to the City of Atlanta’s unprecedented growth and fiscal stability.” 
Alyssa Pointer/ AJC.com
Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed defended his holiday spending in 2017 by saying “the individuals who received the bonuses were worthy of them based upon their contributions to the City of Atlanta’s unprecedented growth and fiscal stability.” (Alyssa Pointer/ AJC.com)

Just days before former Mayor Kasim Reed left office, his administration showered select city employees with more than $518,000 in bonuses, and gifts that were presented during an “executive holiday party” at City Hall.

>> Read more trending news 

The spending spree has left the police union outraged, taxpayers fuming and council members questioning its legality.

During his last days in power, Reed awarded at least $350,000 in bonuses to his senior staff; ordered $42,500 in checks to the eight members of his security detail; gave away $36,000 by drawing names out of a hat during a holiday party raffle in December; and awarded $31,000 to lip sync and ugly sweater contest winners, also at the party.

But none of the holiday giving came out of Reed’s wallet — it all belonged to city taxpayers.

And that’s not the full extent of the spending.

>> Related: See who got bonuses from former Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed

Former human resources commissioner Yvonne Yancy handed out an additional $57,500 in bonuses to 11 members of her staff just days before she left City Hall for the private sector, on Dec. 31.

In response to questions from the AJC, Reed issued a three-paragraph statement.

“Rewarding employees for service and performance is not new and has been common practice in the City of Atlanta,” says the statement, issued through Reed’s spokesman. “These bonuses were appropriate and Mayor Reed believes that the individuals who received the bonuses were worthy of them based upon their contributions to the City of Atlanta’s unprecedented growth and fiscal stability.”

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore called the spending “disgusting” and “illegal.”

“It just reminded me of someone having money and throwing it in the air and letting everybody catch it,” Moore said. “It’s just unconscionable. Let’s just make it clear: It’s not legal to do this. Just make it point-blank clear. He had absolutely, positively no authority to issue any of that to anybody under any circumstance,” she said.

“The mayor can only do what is authorized by the council. He did not go through the proper channels,” Moore added.

Moore pointed to a city ordinance that prohibits increasing “the salaries or other remuneration in any form of any officer or employee of the city during the fiscal year, except by ordinance” approved by the City Council.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, whose campaign was endorsed by Reed, did not respond to the AJC’s questions about the appropriateness of using taxpayer money for contests and raffles. She also declined to respond when asked if the bonuses were appropriate and whether she would award them at the end of the year.

“Decisions around the bonuses were made without input from the current administration,” the statement said. “However, Mayor Bottoms will continue to carefully evaluate best practices, prioritizing ways in which city business can be conducted in a transparent and responsible manner.”

‘A bunch of questions here’

The city’s code stipulates several circumstances under which employees may receive bonuses.

Police officers can receive retention bonuses of $3,000 after 5 years of service. Some employees can receive 2-percent bonuses for being bilingual or by earning a special certification. The city also provides longevity bonuses up to $750 for employees who have been with the city for 25 years or more.

City ordinances do not appear to authorize payments or bonuses of arbitrary amounts for unspecified reasons.

“There are a bunch of questions here,” said Councilman Howard Shook, who chairs the City Council’s Finance/Executive Committee. “I couldn’t think of a worse time to dole out bonuses of this nature from a political perspective. Everything is so unsettled. Morale is so low. Everyone is waiting for the next piece of bad news.

“Obviously, we are all now going to contemplate what guardrails need to be put around this process,” Shook said.

The Georgia State Constitution’s gratuities clause prohibits public agencies from granting donations, gratuities and “extra compensation to any public officer, agent, or contractor after the service has been rendered or the contract entered into.”

An unofficial opinion from the Georgia Attorney General in 2002 dealt with whether public hospital authorities could offer prospective employees signing bonuses. It said they could “if the authority receives a substantial benefit in exchange for the signing bonus.”

>> Related: See the unofficial opinion from 2002 here

Georgia State Rep. Chuck Martin, a Republican, and chairman of the state house’s Budget and Fiscal Affairs Oversight Committee, said the gratuities clause generally prohibits taxpayer money from being spent without taxpayers receiving something in return.

“If those types of bonuses hadn’t been done previously, it would seem to me to call into question the reason for them here,” said Martin, a former Mayor of Alpharetta. “If I was a taxpayer in Atlanta, I would certainly wonder: Wouldn’t that half-a-million dollars been better spent recruiting people to work for me in 2018 and beyond?”

Reed did not address the AJC’s questions about whether metrics were used to determine the amounts of bonuses; nor did he say what the city would receive in return for giving the bonuses.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Chris Carr did not respond to an email about whether the gratuities clause applied to the City of Atlanta’s recent bonuses. Shook said he couldn’t recall similar payouts during his 16 years on the City Council.

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Semi-trucks line interstate to help stop man from jumping off overpass

Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2018 @ 1:05 PM

Semi-Trucks Help Stop Man From Jumping Off Overpass

More than a dozen tractor-trailers formed a line under an overpass on Interstate 696 in Detroit early Tuesday to help stop a man who was contemplating jumping from the overpass, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities were called to I-696 near the Coolidge exit just before 1 a.m., WJBK reported. Negotiators worked for several hours to convince the man not to jump as authorities directed several tractor-trailers to park under the overpass, according to the news station.

Michigan State Police shared an image of 13 tractor-trailers that were lined up side-by-side on the interstate, in case the man jumped.

“This photo does show the work troopers and local officers do to serve the public,” police said Tuesday on Twitter. “But also in that photo is a man struggling with the decision to take his own life.”

The unidentified man came down from the edge of the overpass through the combined efforts of police and the truck drivers, The Detroit Free-Press reported.

“Please remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255,” state police wrote on Twitter. “You can also call a loved one, member of the clergy or 911. There are so many people that can help you make the choice to get help and live! It is our hope to never see another photo like this again.”

Huntington Woods police took the man to Beaumont Hospital for an evaluation, WJBK reported.

Officials reopened I-696 to traffic around 4 a.m.

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