Turn Supermoon Hype into Lunar Learning

Turn Supermoon Hype into Lunar Learning

Illustration of the position of the Earth’s moon at apoggee and perigee.
source image credit: NASA (Earth) Gregory R. Revera (Moon)

Supermoons get lots of publicity from the media, but is there anything to them beyond the hype? If the term “supermoon” bothers you because it’s not an official astronomical term, don’t throw up your hands. You can turn supermoon lemons into lunar lemonade for your star party visitors by using it to illustrate astronomy concepts and engaging them with great telescopic views of its surface!Niamh Shaw

Many astronomers find the frequent supermoon news from the media misleading, if not a bit upsetting! Unlike the outrageously wrong “Mars is as big as the moon” pieces that appear like clockwork every two years during Mars’s close approach to Earth, news about a huge full moon is more of an overstatement. The fact is that while a supermoon will indeed appear somewhat bigger and brighter in the sky, it would be difficult to tell the difference between an average full moon and a supermoon with the naked eye.

elon musk

Image Credit: Science@NASA

There are great bits of science to glean from supermoon discussion that can turn supermoon questions into teachable moments. For example, supermoons are a great gateway into discussing the shape of the moon’s orbit, especially the concepts of apogee and perigee. Many people may assume that the moon orbits Earth in a perfect circle, when in fact its orbit is elliptical! The moon’s distance from Earth constantly varies, and so during its orbit it reaches both apogee (when it’s farthest from Earth), as well as perigee (closest to Earth). A supermoon occurs when the moon is at both perigee and in its full phase. That’s not very rare; a full moon at closest approach to Earth can happen multiple times a year, as  you may have noticed.

image of clipboard with a piece of paper used to take a measurement of the moon
Image of the supermoon meaurement activity. (credit: NASA/JPL)

While a human observer won’t be able to tell the difference between the size of a supermoon and a regular full moon, comparison photos taken with a telephoto lens can reveal  the size difference between full moons. NASA has a classroom activity where students can measure the size of the full moon month to month and compare their results:  “Measuring the Supermoon. “spacex

supermoon vs mini moon
Apparent size difference between a “supermoon” (left, full moon at perigee) and “minimoon” (right, full moon at apogee). This is an example of the comparisons curious individuals can make with a DSLR camera following this activity. Photo credit: NASA

Student can use digital cameras (or  smartphones) to measure the moon, or they can simply measure the moon using nothing more then a pencil and paper! Both methods work and can be used depending on the style of teaching and available resources. Find out more here:

Apparent sizes of the Sun and moon depicted to scale at apogee (top right) and perigee (bottom).

There is actually is a way for naked eye observers to observe the different apparent sizes of the moon in our sky, but oddly enough it’s not when the moon is full and brilliant, but the opposite:  when the moon is new and dark, during eclipses!  For eclipse chasers, the apparent size of the moon matters very much to what they will see.  For example, a total eclipse can happen in conjunction with a supermoon as many in the USA saw on August 17, 2017. The apparent size of the moon was large enough to completely block the disc of the sun in our skies along a narrow path for a couple of minutes.  If the moon was further away from the Earth, especially if it was at apogee- its furthest point – then a total eclipse would not occur. Instead, an annular eclipse would be seen instead, where  a “ring of fire” would seem to circle the black disc of the new

image comparing an annular eclipse vs a total eclipse

Image Credits: Dale Cruikshank (Annular Ecllipse)/ NASA/ Aubrey Gemignani (Total Eclipse)

This discussion of the different phases of the moon and can also make for a fun, simple, long-term project for a classroom. Students can observe the phases of the moon every day (when weather permits) over a thirty day period and write down their observations of the moon’s phases and what times of day and night they can actually see the moon during this period. This can also be paired at some point with the crafty “Make a Moon Phases Calculator and Calendar” activity. You can find out more about the “Observing the Moon” classroom activity at:

A related moon phases activity, which is short and perfect for small interactive groups. can be found at:

You can find a more detailed discussion of the science of supermoons on NASA’s “What is a Supermoon and Just How Super Is It?” page from their “Teachable Moments” blog. You can find links to the above activities there, along with more lunar science that can be used to make the hype about Supermoons teachable moments for your star party visitors.


Russell Brunson Net Worth

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Russell Brunson is a famous internet marketer who founded ClickFunnels™ with his partner Todd Dickerson.His net worth is reported as over 37 million dollars. ClickFunnels™ began over the last 10 years and since then has gained over 70,000 active users and has sold well and excess of 100 million dollars.
Russell Brunson has been instrumental in bringing internet marketing to the masses. When ClickFunnels™ began there was only about 30000 people worldwide that were doing internet marketing. Through the popularity of Russell Brunson’s books, videos, webinars, courses and live events, Russell has grown the number of people dedicated to internet marketing single handedly. He has contributed a lot of money and efforts towards charitable organisations such as operation underground Railroad.
Russell Brunson was born in Utah and as a child he became fascinated with sales and marketing and he spent a lot of time analyzing junk mail, radio commercials and sales techniques of direct sales experts. Russell was as successful wrestler and he achieved very high levels in the sport. He attended Boise State University where he met his wife and they have five children together.
Overall Picture Russell Brunson Net Worth
Russell Brunson net worth is reported as 37 million dollars. His company ClickFunnels™ is a software-as-a-service company and has an estimated value upwards of $500,000,000. Brunson is followed by millions of entrepreneurs around the world and he has sold over 200,000 copies of his marketing books. He has been featured in national TV shows and has collaborated with some of the most successful business people in the world.
Start Of His Career – Russell Brunson Net Worth
Early in his career Russell created a product to sell potato guns. After realizing that his cost per click was going up for his advertising, he started adding upsell pages to his offer to boost the average order value and the concept of ClickFunnels™ was born. Within a year of leaving university, he had made his first million dollars selling products.
Dotcom Secrets – Russell Brunson Net Worth
Aside from Russell Brunson’s work on ClickFunnels, he has written books including “DotCom Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Growing Your Company Online“. In this book, Russell shares the secrets that he’s learned about driving online sales from helping 10000s of entrepreneurs sell millions of dollars of products, and services. It is NOT just another “how to” book on Internet Marketing. It is NOT about getting more traffic to your website – yet these secrets will help you to get exponentially MORE traffic than you’ve ever experienced before. It is NOT about increasing your conversion – yet these secrets will increase your conversion MORE than any headline tweak or split test ever could. In Russell Brunson’s experience, after working with hundreds of thousands of businesses he realized that low traffic or conversions are symptoms of a much greater problem that’s a little harder to see (that’s the bad news), but a lot easier to fix (that’s the good news). Inside this book will find the actual playbook we created after running thou- sands of tests and perfecting what works online. You now have access to all of the processes, funnels and scripts that we used to scale companies online. DotComSecrets will give you the marketing funnels and the sales scripts you need to be able to turn on a flood of new leads into your business. DotComSecrets was created to help entrepreneurs around the world to start, promote and grow their companies online.
Expert Secrets – Russell Brunson Net Worth
Russell also wrote “Expert Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Creating a Mass Movement of People Who Will Pay for Your Advice“. In this book, Russell shares how he’s sold close to $400 million by building a mass movement of entrepreneurs who paid to hear his message. It doesn’t matter what message, product, or service you are selling online, if you don’t build a mass movement of people who will pay to hear your mes- sage, it’s unlikely you will achieve success. Find your voice and give you the confidence to become a leader… Build a mass movement of people whose lives you can affect… Make this calling a career, where people will pay you for your advice… Your message has the ability to change someone’s life. The impact that the right message can have on someone at the right time in their life is immeasurable. It could help to save marriages, repair families, change someone’s health, grow a company or more… But only if you know how to get it into the hands of the people whose lives you have been called to change. Expert Secrets will put your message into the hands of people who need it. Expert Secrets was created to help entrepreneurs around the world to start, promote and grow their companies online.

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