Sunday, June 23, 2013

All About Supermoons and New Agate Hunting DVD

A supermoon happens when there is either a full moon or a new moon that happens at the same time that the moon is closest to the Earth.  As everyone knows, the moon's orbit around the Earth is not totally circular.  It is elliptical. The closest the moon comes to earth is 225,623 miles (363,104 kilometers). The farthest away it gets is 252,088 miles (405,696 km) from Earth. On average, the distance from Earth to the moon is about 238,855 miles (384,400 km). However, the moon is moving away from Earth about 1.5 inches (4 cm) per year.  Last night the moon was 225,623 miles from earth.

The result is that the moon appears and is in fact larger when seen from earth.  The moon will not be so close again until August 10, 2014. Supermoons occur about once every 14 full moons in a full moon cycle.

Superrmoons appear around 14 percent bigger and 13 percent brighter.

Below are the pictures I took last night from Sable Lake.  I was heading off to bed when I noticed that I could see the moon through the trees.  Even though it was late, I jumped in the car and drove over to Sable Lake to get a few pictures.  It was partly cloudy, but the brighter moon was able to shine its way through the clouds.

Today I'll announce to those who do not know that I am in the process of producing a new DVD.  When I started this project three or four weeks ago, I thought that all I had to do was to convert the information and graphics included in segment 2E of the Online Rockhounding Adventures.  It is not quite that easy. 

The DVD is about how to find Lake Superior agates.  During the 15 years that I've operated the Gitche Gumee Agate Museum, I have helped thousands of people learn how to find agates.  Information has been relayed via books, lectures, classes, the new Online Rockhounding Adventures, and interactions with museum visitors.  One thing is clear: people learn more effectively with visual teaching methods rather than the written word.  The DVD uses pictures to train your eyes and your brain to recognize agates.  Most beginning agate hunters try too hard -- while on the beach they attempt to look at every single rock.  The net result is that they get visually burned out and end up spending too much time picking up pretty rocks.  This method does allow you to occasionally find agates, but it is not the most efficient hunting method.  Instead, you should scan the beach for agate characteristics and let the agates find you.  The DVD will feature close up pictures of what rough agates look like as well as several series of pictures of rocks on the beach wherein the only thing moving in the pictures are the agates.  This visual method demonstrates not only what rough agates look like, but also how they really do look different than regular beach rocks.

I am about half done and so far the movie has 362 slides.  It is taking longer than expected because I am going to narrate the DVD.  Once the project is done, I will have DVDs for sale at the museum, on the webpage, on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel web sites, and at other retail outlets.  I will also publish it to the Online Rockhounding Adventures in the movie format.   It is not interactive like the other segments, but it will be viewable on all portable devices.  All those who purchase Adventure 2 will have access to this version of segment 2E.

I no longer estimate when I'll finish these projects.  I've never produced a DVD before, so I don't know how much time it will take to finish adding the graphics, add the narration, and adjust the timing of all the slides to match the narration.  Keep watching this blog and I'll let you know when the DVD is available.  I am hoping, however, to complete the project in the next few weeks.


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