Blue Moon on Hallow’s Eve

“The legends say the moon was the first waterbender. Our ancestors saw how it pushed and pulled the tides, and learned how to do it themselves. Our strength comes from the spirit of the moon, our life comes from the spirit of the ocean. They work together to keep balance.”

Princess Yue, Avatar the Last Airbender

Usually it takes around 30 days for a full moon cycle, meaning there is one full moon per month. But last night, right smack on Halloween, a second full moon happened. It’s an unusual occurrence, that’s why it’s called a Blue Moon. And since it doesn’t happen often, it was just fitting that I took a photo of it.

It’s even rare for a Blue Moon to happen on Hallow’s Eve. If a Blue Moon happens every 2-ish years, then a Blue Moon on Halloween happens every 19 years. Which means the next time the Blue Moon shines on a spooky day will be on 2039.

The Blue Moon doesn’t really mean that the color is blue. With the naked eye, the moon was greyish, like a monochrone photo. It only looked blue on the photo because of the white balance that was set on my DSLR.

A planet also peeped and said hello with the full moon. Mars was also visible as its oribtal position is the closest to the earth. Apparently it’s supposed to look red, but it just looked like a little bright star in the sky.

Thankfully, the skies cooperated last night, since the Philippines is officially in the typhoon season. Typhoon Goni gave us a few hours to admire the sky last night because it took over the stage.

This was very difficult to take. Moon shots are usually easy because you can take it while holding the DSLR and with high shutter speeds. Isolated moon photos can be taken with these settings:

  • ISO: 200
  • F-Stop: f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125
  • Focal length: 200 mm (the closest I could do with my zoom lens)

But for the photo of the Moon with Mars in the photo, I needed a long exposure shot. Which meant that I had to mount my camera on a tripod (I only had a gorillapod) and position the camera looking straight up. And since my DSLR is so old school where you had to directly look at the viewfinder to take the photo, I had to go on all fours (and close to lying down on the concrete), just to lock focus on the moon before leaving it take the long exposure. I had help from UniverseToday.com for the settings since it was my first time taking photos of the night sky besides the moon:

  • ISO: 400
  • F-Stop: 3.8
  • Shutter Speed: 4 seconds
  • Focal length: 20 mm (I just used the lens kit)

I would call it a success, especially for a first-timer in taking planet photos. Apparently Jupiter and Saturn were also visible last night, but I wasn’t able to check their exact position to the moon. I can try again next time, when the skies are clear and we’re not in the middle of a crazy typhoon.

Waterbenders are at their peak today, bringing in the storm after a full moon.

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