By Becca Carlson
Mid-November finally brought cooler temperatures to our area which made for just the right conditions to view Supermoon 2016. The Escambia Amateur Astronomy Association (EAAA) invited participants to view the event outside of the Pensacola State College Planetarium.
PSC students and community members observed Monday night’s Supermoon and other astral objects through telescopes provided by Dr. Wayne Wooten and EAAA members. Those who showed up early witnessed a tangerine tint to the engorged moon as it was rising in the evening sky.
According to NASA, the Moon was as close as it has been in relation to the Earth since the year 1948. Another event this magnificent will not occur again until 2034.
Richard Mannarino, who was just elected EAAA’s next term President, was happy to provide educational assistance that evening. “I tried to describe to people what we’re looking at and how to use some of the scopes,” said Mannarino.
EAAA set up near the Baroco Center for Science and Advanced Technology sign, in plain view of the public. Soon, a crowd gathered. Throughout the night, dozens of people stopped by to take snapshots of the supermoon on their cell phones and tablets with the help of EAAA members and special mounting adapters.
After struggling to capture a moon image on an iPad that was too big for the scope attachment, Mannarino managed to get several great pics for a spectator. “He was really excited! I love the excitement from the public,” said Mannarino.
That gentleman immediately emailed the image to his sister in California who is two hours behind Pensacola. She had not yet had the supermoon experience. “They were going to compare pictures later,” said Mannarino. “That was kind of unique!”
Michael Kinser, an EAAA member, also helped participants view the moon through telescopes and binoculars that he brought from home. “It was amazing,” said Kinser. “So many people from the area came out and enjoyed viewing the supermoon.”
Like many others, Kinser was impressed by the luminosity and the size of the moon that evening. “It was just exciting to see the moon the largest it will be in our lifetime,” said Kinser.
Spectators may get a second opportunity to view the last supermoon of 2016 on Wednesday, Dec. 14. “Dr. Wooten gets really excited about it,” said Mannarino. “Any chance to do any sort of gaze with Dr. Wooten is worth going to!”