Photo from this page: http://www.rmf.fm/magazyn/news,6902,wiekszosc-polakow-podziwialo-wczoraj-ksiezyc-zobaczcie-piekne-zdjecia.html

It's on a reputable site which claims that it is a genuine photo but I can't believe that the moon really appeared so large.

enter image description here

  • 7
    It may just be taken with a long focus zoom lens. Can you get the metadata from the photograph? This sometimes contains the information about the lens settings.
    – matt_black
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 10:18
  • 2
    @matt_black I guess you mean a long focal length (neither focus nor zoom capabilites have any relevance here), but no, you can easily see on the perspective of the row of houses along the harbour that the image (or at least that part of the image) is not taken with a long focal length. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 13:28
  • 2
    This site puts focal length at 19mm on a full-frame camera. That is a relatively short focal length. [Note: Metadata can't be trusted.]
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 14:21
  • 5
    @cja There have been other supermoons. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 14:40
  • 1
    @Oddthinking that's why it's a comment and not an answer
    – tuskiomi
    Commented Nov 18, 2016 at 1:15

3 Answers 3


About this first element of your question

Is this a photo of the supermoon over Gdańsk?

We can easily answer with a clear NO, as the photo has been published before: http://trojmiasto.eska.pl/poznaj-miasto/trojmiasto-noca-a-gdyby-gdansk-wygladal-wlasnie-tak/50001 http://fotolajt.flog.pl/wpis/10794593/wieczorne-nabrzeze-motlawy-w-blasku-zacmienia-ksiezyca#w

from the automatic translation of the linked pages, it seems to be an image linked to a lunar eclipse ("blood moon"), and also the colors of the moon in the picture would indicate that.

Is this a genuine photo?

I don't speak Polish and google translate is not helping much, but the above pages does not seem to clarify this point in either way.

The blog related to the second link has reposted the photo on facebook in the last 24h, and many of the comments seem to agree that it is not genuine, but I cannot find any hard proof as of yet

  • 3
    Here is a higher-res photo on another photo-site, but with the same author: fotoLajt. It claims the be the Red moon (caused by the April 2015 lunar eclipse, not a supermoon (i.e. full moon when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit).
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 14:19
  • @Oddthinking feel free to add those informations in the answer (or write your own). or you meant that I should somehow correct the answer?
    – Federico
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 14:35
  • Oh, I didn't mean that your answer was incorrect. I very much doubt it is genuine, but I also have no hard proof. I just noticed that the moon looked like the red moon event, and correctly suspected it was people mixing the two events up. Maybe I should edit this in.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 14:41
  • Oh, I forgot to mention: Another shot, which should be easier to disprove, because it cannot be a super-long focal length taken from a long distance away.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 14:44
  • and the reason for the downvote is?
    – Federico
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 18:58

As already stated by Frederico et. al. it's not the supermoon over Gdansk because the picture was already posted earlier.

It's neither genuine because the line of sight (feel free to enable the 3d vision) in the pic is almost NNE to SSW and the moon never stands that low over Gdańsk looking in this direction - at least in the "summer three quarter".

Additionally the relation between Moon size and the buildings (and star constellation) don't fit and Moon's surface structures should be much sharper.

Doing some easy math:

The Krantor (the strange overhanging building in the middle of the picture) has a height of ~31m (sorry, no english Wikipedia link found). The distance between the photographer (somewhere in the violet circle but almost at the same level as the opposite quay and ~2.5 m above sea level) and the Krantor is about 90 m (using Google):

enter image description here

Using this formula the angular diameter of the Krantor should be around 19°. The largest angular diameter of the Moon viewed from the Earth is about 34' which is about 1/33 of the Krantor. So a more realistic pic would look like this (I think the Moon is still a little oversized in my modded pic):

enter image description here


Is this a genuine photo of the supermoon over Gdańsk?

No, the photographer claims it is a photo of an eclipse over Gdansk

It is almost certainly a composite image. The photographer's website has several photos of different places in Gdansk containing the same image of the moon.

enter image description here enter image description here


The link in the question shows the image credited to fotojajt

The photographer at www.fotolajt.pl calls themselves Pawel and is based in Gdansk, Poland. The photo is in a blog entry dated 30 January 2016 where it states "eclipse on 28 September 2015." (presumably when the photos were actually taken)


Another photo in the same website uses the same moon image, strongly suggesting it is a composite. In the time taken to travel around Gdansk the real moon would almost certainly have changed lighting during an eclipse in the time a solo photographer would have taken to pack away camera gear relocate and set up again.


Another image showing the same building from further along the harbour includes a moon that appears to be somewhere around a tenth of the size. EXIF info says that this other image was captured by a Nikon D610 35mm full-frame DSLR using a 50mm focal-length lens.

The apparent size of the moon at syzergy-perihelion (supermoon) is only 14% larger than at aphelion, and the surrounding buildings at this location constrain the use of longer telephoto lenses to distort the scale from a viewpoint close to the water level.

here's a comparison with a more realistic photo at the same location. We can see the difference in size is more than 14%, even taking into account likely differences in focal length and viewpoint.

enter image description here enter image description here

In the second photo the moon is just above and left of the streetlight

Orientation and Colour

Other photos of the supermoon published in polish websites (example) in 2016 seem to show a more normal colouration and a very different (but consistent) orientation. Suggesting that the moon in the image in the question is not taken in Poland in mid November 2016.

enter image description here
Sea of Tranquility near 12 o'clock position. Normal colour.

The image of the moon is strikingly similar to an Alamy stock Photo taken in Westphalia Germany on September 28 2015.

It is also similar to one taken of a blood moon (total eclipse) by Karen Bleier in Virginia in 2010.

enter image description here enter image description here
Sea of Tranquility at 4 o'clock position. Red tint.

This supports the conclusion that the moon in the photo was photographed during an eclipse, not during the November 2016 "supermoon" period.


It seems likely that the image of the moon seen in the presumed composite was taken during an eclipse in 2015.

It seems unlikely to have had the same colouration if photographed when there was no eclipse to cause the tint.

  • A better (already exisiting) pic is this (probably) Reuters pic published in the Express. Properly cut, rotated clockwise (~65°) & some gaussian softening and it fits.
    – klanomath
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 18:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .