Supermoon Party! Space Fan Helps Inspire New Skywatchers (Photos)

November 29, 2016 - Supermoon

Amateur astronomer and space fan Zack Payne wants some-more people to get vehement about looking during a sky. So when November’s full “supermoon” came a closest to Earth that it’s been given 1948, he threw a “moon party” for his peers to come together and check out a giant, intense moon in all a excellence by his mint telescope.

Payne, who happens to be an aged crony of mine, threw his supermoon observation celebration on Nov. 14 in my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. Originally, his devise was to take his mint Orion SkyQuest XT10g Dobsonian Telescope out for a initial exam run and to spend a dusk moon gazing with a few of his associate space fans. To his surprise, a throng of about 50 people showed adult to see a supermoon. “I figured usually like 10 or 15 would uncover up,” Payne said.

Most of a celebration guest had never looked by a telescope before. Payne pronounced a steer of his glossy new telescope alone was adequate to wow people. “It looks like a cannon … It’s a large telescope, so it awed people immediately.” He bought a telescope online progressing this month, and it arrived only in time for supermoon viewing. [‘Supermoon’ Photos: The Closest Full Moon Until 2034 in Pictures]

Zack Payne's Orion SkyQuest XT10g Dobsonian Telescope
Credit: Zack Payne

By a time Payne had lugged a 70-lb. (30 kilograms) telescope to Victor Ashe Park, he was over a fad of saying his outrageous new telescope. Instead, he was stoked to see how “super” a moon looked in his stargazing machine. Compared to when he used his comparison XT8 Dobsonian telescope, a viewpoint was incredible, Payne said. “Everything is crisper, and it’s a lot some-more detailed,” he said.

“The moon was indeed super,” partygoer Aaron Howell, who had never looked by a telescope before, told in an email. “The immeasurable craters and scarred face were distant over minute … It gave good viewpoint to a exam of time on such an measureless object.”

Amateur astronomer Zack Payne took this print of a supermoon during his moon celebration in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Nov. 14.
Credit: Zack Payne

To get a best viewpoint of a supermoon, Payne used a moon filter on his telescope. Without a filter, a full moon is too splendid to demeanour during by a telescope. Its aspect facilities can disappear in a glow, though it can also be blinding to demeanour at. [Best Telescopes for a Money – 2016 Reviews and Guide]

Despite a light pollution and atmosphere wickedness over Knoxville, Payne’s telescope images incited out purify and crisp. With wildfires prevalent in a southeastern U.S., a hazed mist had been slow over a city for days. “With a haze, a light wickedness shaped a outrageous bend in a sky,” Payne said.

Amateur astronomer Zack Payne took this print of a supermoon during his moon celebration in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Nov. 14.
Credit: Zack Payne

To take a best photos of a moon, he had to wait for it to arise high adequate in a sky to where a atmosphere didn’t meddle so many with a view. He arrived during a park to set adult his telescope around 6:30 p.m. EST (2330 GMT), though he took his best supermoon photos closer to midnight, when many of a partygoers had already left.

The supermoon celebration was indeed cut brief by a park ranger, who insisted that they take their skywatching festivities elsewhere. The throng fast dispersed, withdrawal Payne to urge his possess indolent exit to a park ranger. “I have a telescope, male — reason on!” he hollered during a desirous ranger.

Payne’s supermoon celebration was such an astonishing success that he now skeleton to chuck some-more skywatching parties like it in a future. But he skeleton to fire for some-more than only a moon: His subsequent large devise is to chuck a world party, followed by universe parties, effluvium parties, etc. If it’s in his telescope’s catalog, he’s going to spin it into a reason to party.

For Payne, a best thing about his new telescope is a ability to move his peers together to observe and conclude space. “People were superexcited. They desired it. People even brought chairs to lay on and hang out. we got to learn them all about space,” he said.

Now that it’s transparent that Payne’s peers are meddlesome in stargazing with him, he hopes to start an pledge stargazing category — giveaway of assign — for a Knoxville community. “I don’t have any grave astronomy education, though we do have a expostulate to wish to enthuse people,” Payne said. And what improved approach to enthuse immature people than to celebration in a name of space.

Email Hanneke Weitering during or follow her @hannekescience. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original essay on

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