Full Moon on July 4th

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On July 4, 2012, tens of thousands of people descended onto the National Mall to watch fireworks at the nation’s Capitol. This composite image was taken from the Pentagon, which was more distant and less crowded. The seventeen minute show provided opportunities for many great shots. 

After the fireworks ended around 9:45pm, everyone in attendance rushed to pack up and get home. However, upon turning towards the southeast, they were greeted with a spectacular view of the rising Moon that was sure to stop them in their footsteps. The Moon has just passed its full phase and was a startling red color due to its low position on the horizon, for the same reason that a sunset is red.

The photographer took separate images of the Moon, and later superimposed the Moon onto the fireworks image.  The Moon and the fireworks were not photographed in the same image. 

The colors in this image have not been adjusted. By the time most people had arrived home an hour later, the Moon had risen higher in the night sky and its color turned to pale yellow. 

Camera: Canon T1i with 85-200mm zoom lens, stabilized by a tripod and remote.


Emily Berkson

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Smithsonian Public Observatory Project


Smithsonian Institution

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