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HomeIn focusResident astrophotographer captures the largest and brightest moon of the year at the Nurana Islands

Resident astrophotographer captures the largest and brightest moon of the year at the Nurana Islands

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Bahrain once again lit up as the Super Blue Moon took to the skies this past weekend. The sight of the biggest and brightest moon of the year was simply breathtaking, capturing the attention of skygazers. A blue moon is a rare occurrence that depends on the timing of full moons during the year. The lunar cycle lasts about a month, resulting in 12 full moons each year. However, with a cycle taking 29.5 days to complete, it takes just 354 days to complete 12 lunar cycles. Thus, once every two-and-a-half years, a 13th full moon is observed within a calendar year, which does not conform to the normal naming scheme and is referred to as the Blue Moon.

This blue moon is also known as a supermoon for its unusually large size and brightness because it is near the closest point in its orbit around Earth. The fact that the next super blue moon will be in 2037 makes this celestial occurrence all the more special.

Bahrain This Week went through the journey of Selene rising into its full glory on Wednesday, August 30, along with resident astrophotographer Premjith Narayanan.

As the sun set on the day, amidst the hazy hot weather, the moon rose with a faint brick red, transforming to a bright orangish hue. Mr Narayanan, a passionate shutterbug, captured the Super Blue Moon at the Nurana Islands, nine kilometres west of Manama, through a telescope attached to a Canon EOS R3.

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The moon looked stunningly amazing; however, Mr Narayanan said there was “nothing spectacular” about this super moon from an astrophotography perspective. “But the nearness of the moon as seen through the telescope appeared larger (approximately 14 per cent) and more luminous (approximately 30pc) and so the additional sunlight reflected off the surface of the moon, making it a flaming orange ball. Yes, the moon was brighter than at its apogee,” he told Bahrain This Week. “I had shot the Supermoon from many locations in Bahrain in the past—from the desolate tree of life, from above the skyscrapers in Manama, from the populated areas of Riffa—and I’m glad that I can showcase Bahrain to the whole world by getting it published in international publications,” said Mr Narayanan Premjith Narayanan, an internationally recognised photographer whose work has been featured in publications such as the BBC magazine and National Geographic. He is one of the finalists for the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020, an annual astronomy photography competition organised by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, UK. “The change in the locations makes each Supermoon photo unique, and it’s all about the thrill of finding an exotic location to click the Supermoon each time,” he said.

The phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ owes its origin to the rare occurrence; however, astronomers cite a contradiction, pointing out that blue moons can occur relatively frequently. According to NASA, blue moons occur once every two to three years. As there are roughly 29.5 days between full moons, February will never experience a monthly blue moon as it only has 28 days in a common year and 29 in a leap year. Sometimes February doesn’t have a full moon at all; this is known as a black moon, according to astronomers.

Also, anyone who hoped to see the moon donning a blue tinge was disappointed, as the name of the moon has nothing to do with colour but instead is so called because it does not fall in the usual scheme of named moons.

The last blue moon was in August 2021, and the next one will be in 2026. The phenomenon of the supermoon is always a spectacle to behold, and it was no exception this time. As the moon’s radiant glow illuminated the night sky, it created a sense of wonder and awe among onlookers. From stunning photographs to personal experiences, the ‘orange’ Super Blue Moon in Bahrain has undoubtedly left its mark.

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