Moon Boon

It cannot have escaped your attention this past weekend that the Earth was treated to a supermoon. The correct terminology for this felicitous event is a perigee syzygy, but the reasons for the interesting nomenclature need not detain us.

The point is that Saturday night was clear in London and gave those of us who live there a magnificent view:

Supermoon over Kent (2)

Which, just like a lunar orbit, brings me to a place I’ve been before. I photographed the full moon back at the turn of 2010 with what was then a brand new telescope. I wrote a blogpost about the excitement of my first fantastically detailed views of the moon — and the planets — and am preternaturally pleased that it has been included in the Open Laboratory 2010 collection, which is published today.

You should really think about buying a copy. It only costs money and has forty-nine wonderful examples of the best science writing on blogs.

Open Laboratory 2010 - Cover

And a piece by me. 😉


My thanks to this year’s editor Jason Goldman, and series editor Bora Zivkovic for all their hard work.

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15 Responses to Moon Boon

  1. cromercrox says:

    You mean ‘syzygy’ – which could be a terrific word in Scrabble. The Moon is even huger in Cromer, but then we’re much further north.

  2. Stephen says:

    Thanks for the correction, Henry (now fixed in above). That’ll teach me to rely on The Grauniad for spelling…

  3. rpg says:

    Actually, I think you mean XYZZY.

  4. Stephen says:


  5. ricardipus says:

    VXXYnot, surely?

    Nice photo. I have to admit that the whole \supermoon\ thing kind of passed me by, although the flood of photos on Flickr was somewhat hard to miss.

    OpenLab 2011 submissions are open at the usual place, and Bora’s already posted the first list of submissions. Not sayin’ why I know this though. 😉

    • Stephen says:

      @Richardipus – I know why you know that submissions are open. And anyone else can find out by following this link and searching for ‘occam’. A well-deserved nomination! 😉

  6. Frank says:

    Another beautiful photo Stephen. Oddly, the surface of the moon looks a bit shiny.

    And congratulations on your Openlab spot. It still does feel a bit odd to have a printed book full of blog posts when we are going in the opposite direction for so much of our printed heritage (i.e. digitising). I guess it brings the blog posts to a different audience.

  7. Stephen says:

    It does seem a little shiny, doesn’t it? What I particularly like is that the shading gives an idea of the globularity of the moon — it’s not just a pale disk.

    As for the book – though I am pretty much entirely an online writer, there is still something especially satisfying about seeing your work on the printed page.

  8. steve caplan says:


    Just returned from a performance at the Omaha Community Playhouse called “The 25th Annual Putnam Spelling Bee”–and the first word in the play was syzygy. Did you have it coordinated?

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