Supermoons and Super-Parties

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By Hannah Steele

    Everyone likes to have a party. But what about a party where there is more learning and laughing than drinking and dancing?
    On August 10, the moon was as close to the Earth as it will be this year.  This closest approach of the moon to the earth is called a perigee.  2014’s perigee  resulted in the moon appearing much bigger and brighter than a normal full moon, thus giving it the title of supermoon.
    Of course, this event is a good event to celebrate with telescopes and plenty of guests.  That is exactly what Catherine Eubank, the hostess of Sunday night’s Extra Supermoon Party, decided to do at Joppy’s Deli, which she owns, in Bedford.
    The science behind this event is evident.  Our moon orbits the earth in an elliptical orbit, which is shaped like an oval.  That means that sometimes the moon is closer to the earth than it is at other times.
    When the moon gets close enough to the earth allowing you to see a difference, it is dubbed a supermoon.  There are usually four to six supermoons every year, but the largest supermoon of the year, this year on August 10, is sometimes called an extra-supermoon.
    This year’s extra-supermoon’s perigee actually occurs in the same hour as the moon becomes full, which astronomers call a perigee full moon.  There is a perigee full moon once every 14 months.
    Full moons have their own effects on the Earth through occurrences like tides, so perigee full moons have even greater effects on our planet.  High tides were very high, so those living along the coast had to be wary for a few days around the extra-supermoon.  The moon was supposed to be visible from dusk to dawn, and was supposed to be 14 percent bigger in the sky and 30 percent brighter than any old full moon.
    Unfortunately, on Sunday night, there was a lot of cloud coverage, a little bit of rain, and no way of seeing the moon from Joppy’s Deli.
    Even though the moon was a no-show, the party was quite the show.  About 30 people came to the party, and they seemed to have a splendid time.  Even though the moon was not visible, guests still were able to enjoy spending time with their friends, reading information and chatting about the moon, and enjoying some of Joppy’s delicacies.
    Eubank wanted to throw this party so people in Bedford could begin to share her belief that astronomy is pure beauty.  She had this belief since she was a child, as her grandfather, who was the namesake of Joppy’s Deli, taught a celestial navigation class that caught her interest.
    Many of Eubank’s adult guests brought their children with them.  Eubank was pleased with the number of children there, so that her event was less a party, than a way to get people, especially kids, interested in how the universe works.
    Kendra Harvey, a local mother who works at a bank, brought her children to this party to get them interested in astronomy.  Her family stargazes often, whether it is at Claytor Nature Center during its monthly open house program, or if it is doing her husband Brian’s way, which involves staring up at the Milky Way Galaxy on a clear night.
    Viewing the extra-supermoon was an important part of this party for everybody in attendance, but many guests also came because they wanted to support a local business.  Wendy Witt, a real estate agent, attended the event because, “I love Catherine, and I love Joppy’s, so [this] is a great way to support local businesses.”
    Even though supermoon, or ‘novelty moon’ as Cathy Namenek called it, was, disappointingly, a non-event on Sunday night, everyone in attendance at Eubank’s party found themselves at a swell event, celebrating this special astronomical occurrence with their good friends and some (what else?) Moon Pies.