How to take great pictures of the supermoon with a cellphone or digital camera

DENVER -- The moon doesn't get much bigger and brighter than this.

On Monday, the supermoon will be the closest a full moon has been to Earth since 1948. And it won't happen again for another 18 years.

NASA said the closest approach will occur at 4:21 a.m. MST when the moon comes within 221,523 miles. That's from the center of the Earth to the center of the moon. The full moon will occur at 6:52 a.m. MST, after it has set in Denver.

NASA planetary geologist Noah Petro is urging everyone to step outside and soak in the view. Prime viewing will be Sunday and Monday nights.

NASA photographer Bill Ingalls offers some tips to get a picture of the supermoon.

  • Get something else in the shot for reference.
  • Do your research. Plan in advance where to shoot.
  • The moon will be closest during Monday morning’s moonset, but Sunday evening will be great too.
  • Taking the picture on a smartphone? Tap the screen and hold your finger on the moon to lock the focus. Then slide your finger up or down to darken or lighten the exposure.
  • Using a digital SLR? Use the daylight white balance setting. If you use longer lens, remember the moon is a moving object. Balance between trying to get the right exposure and a faster shutter.

For viewers in eastern North America and Europe, the best view will likely be on Sunday night or Monday night.

Early risers on the U.S. West Coast should be able to spot it near as the sun does not rise in that region until about a half-hour later.

Moon spotters in Asia are perhaps the best placed to catch the moon at its absolute largest, with full moon occurring at 9:52 p.m. Hong Kong time, or 7:22 p.m. in India.

While the moon will likely be visible throughout the day (depending on cloud coverage), supermoons are best viewed at night, away from sources of light pollution.