DUBAI // More than 150 amateur photographers gathered on the Palm Jumeirah last night to watch a “supermoon” rise above Dubai’s skyline.
Members of Emirates Photo Club had cameras poised from dusk to capture the moon, which was about 8 per cent larger than normal and 17 per cent brighter.
When the moon finally made its appearance, just after 7.20pm, a small cheer went up from those assembled followed by a silence penetrated only by the click-clicking of camera shutters.
Photography lecturer and stargazer, Basel Badran, said he was disappointed he could not get a picture when the moon was low on the horizon. Capturing the moon this way would show its scale by contrasting it with elements of the skyline.
“The weather was so hazy we couldn’t catch it as it was rising on the horizon,” said Mr Badran, who also brought a huge telescope for some close up pictures of the moon’s surface. “We only saw it when it was already quite high in the sky.
“I just have to have perseverance and come back next year when it happens again.”
Another member of the group, Peter Schomers, said the supermoon was not quite as super as he expected.
“It’s nice, but not like they advertised it on their webpage,” he said, referring to a page for the event used by the club. “That picture made it look huge, and I was hoping to get a picture like that. It’s not really dark enough, and you couldn’t see it clearly when it came up on the horizon,” he said.
Hasan Al Hariri, the chair of Dubai Astronomy Group, said the group decided against holding a telescope session last night.
“It’s a very obvious event, everyone can watch the moon from their house,” he said.
“Plus, it’s too hot and people won’t be able to appreciate what they’re looking at.”
Mr Al Hariri said he did not expect the supermoon, an annual phenomena, to be that spectacular.
“Sometimes it comes closer and sometimes it goes far away. People wouldn’t notice much difference.”
The moon normally orbits the earth at about 364,000 km. Yesterday, that distance decreased to 356,991 km. Next year’s supermoon, in August, will likely be even closer, at 356,575 km.
Although the photo club has organised dozens of photo walks on areas as varied as Dubai Creek, or in the Marina, it is not the first time they have shot the moon – a similar meeting having taken place 18 months ago to shoot the eclipse.
Jason Dalmeida, the organiser of the event, said he had picked the location, on the Palm Crescent next to the Rixos hotel, because it cast the moon above the Dubai skyline.
“You have the cityscape, the water and then the moon, so it might give a few interesting images,” he said.
“Everyone has come here because they love the moon, and today is the best chance to get a unique picture of it.”