Eden Prairie Local News photographer Rick Olson documented a unique celestial event on Wednesday night as a rare blue supermoon graced the night sky. Olson’s skillful photography showcased the astronomical phenomenon, which marked the closest and brightest full moon of the year.
The blue supermoon phenomenon occurred due to the presence of a second full moon in the month of August, which led to its “blue” label. Additionally, the moon’s close proximity to Earth qualified it as a supermoon. Olson’s images exhibited the moon’s rise, characterized by a warm orange hue. This coloration arises from the moonlight’s interaction with Earth’s atmosphere, a result of the planet’s curvature. The scattering of shorter wavelengths in the atmosphere gives rise to dominant red, orange, and yellow tones, which are further accentuated by elements such as dust and smoke.
As the moon ascended in the sky, Olson’s photographs depicted the gradual transition from vibrant oranges to a more customary lunar color. This shift provided viewers with the opportunity to observe finer lunar surface details.
Olson underscored that the moon’s intrinsic color remained constant, and its altered appearance was due to the effects of Earth’s atmosphere. He explained that astronauts, viewing the moon from space, perceive it as a white object due to the absence of atmospheric influence.
For those interested in the technical details, Olson utilized a Sony a1 camera body paired with a Sony 400mm 2.8 lens. His carefully selected settings, including an aperture of f/7.1, an ISO of 50, and a shutter speed of 1/8 second, facilitated the capture of the delicate interplay of light and color.
Recognizing the challenges posed by light pollution and urban heat in Eden Prairie, Olson sought clearer conditions for this special photographic opportunity. He traveled west on Highway 212, eventually selecting a location west of Henderson next to a quiet cornfield.
“When it was time to drive home, I discovered that I was halfway to Mankato, so it took me 44 minutes to return to Eden Prairie, but the conditions were perfect for moonrise,” he said.
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