Supermoon ‘hides’ behind clouds, but some still get prized shots

The supermoon is the second of four that are expected to grace the sky in 2023.

Fatimah Mujibah

Fatimah Mujibah

The Straits Times


The supermoon emerging from the clouds at 8pm, a full hour after the moonrise on Aug 1, 2023. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

August 2, 2023

SINGAPORE – Some sky gazers were left disappointed as they struggled to get a clear sight of the sturgeon moon on a cloudy Tuesday night.

“The moon came out for a bit and then went into hiding. It came out fully in the open only after 7.30pm,” said Mr Mervyn Soon, who had camped at a Housing Board block in Pasir Ris.

The supermoon is the second of four that are expected to grace the sky in 2023.

A supermoon is a full moon that orbits closest to Earth, making it appear larger and brighter than usual. Tuesday’s moon was 357,581km from Earth at its nearest point, making it the second-closest supermoon to the planet in 2023.

Mr Simon Lim had both his cameras ready, hoping to capture the moon from Bukit Batok.

But the moon, rising in a south-east direction, appeared fully only at around 7.50pm, later than the expected timing of 7.10pm.

It could be seen only through gaps in the clouds.

The 54-year-old music school centre director said: “I am very disappointed. But that’s the way it is for moon, sun or lightning photography.”

He added that he would try to get another shot during the moon set, referring to the sturgeon moon reaching its highest point in the sky at 1am on Wednesday before it begins to set in a south-west direction.

He had set up an Olympus camera with 1000mm focal length for still shots and a Sony camera with 600mm focal length for a time-lapse shot.

Another sky gazer, NUS Astronomical Society president Chen Wei Zhong, said: “The moon was expected to be seen around 7.10pm. Due to cloudy weather, it was only slightly visible after 7.20pm… through a gap in the clouds.

“It was slightly disappointing that the weather was mostly cloudy, though I was still relieved that gaps in the clouds allowed me to capture the moon through fleeting moments of clarity.”

The 24-year-old managed to get a few shots from an HDB estate in Paya Lebar, which would have offered clear views of the moon rising if it was not so cloudy.

Mr Chen Wei Zhong captured the sturgeon moon from an HDB estate in Paya Lebar at around 7.20pm. PHOTO: CHEN WEI ZHONG

IT analyst Jackson Tay was one of the lucky few who managed to snap clear shots of the moon.

The 34-year-old was in VivoCity buying a present for a friend when he decided to pop by the open deck.

Although the moon disappeared after a few minutes, he managed to capture it on his Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, using the zoom feature, he said.

He tried his luck again with a Sony camera after returning home to Waterway Terraces in Punggol, where he managed to catch the gleaming moon in its glory at around 9pm.

Mr Jackson Tay managed to shoot a clear photo of the sturgeon moon from Waterway Terraces in Punggol at around 9pm. PHOTO: JACKSON TAY

Those who were not able to catch the sturgeon moon will have two more chances to see supermoons this year, with the upcoming blue moon on Aug 31, and the last – the harvest moon – on Sept 29.

The first supermoon, called the buck moon, was sighted on July 3.

The sturgeon moon as seen from Gardens by the Bay on Aug 1, 2023. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

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