clear sky chart

Job 9:9

Job 9:9-10
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lunar Imaging With the 8 Inch

A couple of days ago, I imaged the moon with the 8", and what I was able to get was pretty impressive.  Seeing was about a 4 - not real good.  The moon was bouncing around on the screen somewhat.  Nevertheless, the images I got were quite good.  I'm curious to see what really good seeing will do.

Lets begin with Clavius.  Not only do we have the usual 5 craters inside the big crater, but numerous small craterlets are visible and are well resolved.  The edge of the moon also has a more realistic look, with much less blur.

I also discovered that I have been imaging the moon "wrong" all this time.  I found that instead of looking for a histogram that peaks as close to 255 (but not over that), you want to image the moon at a dimmer level - lets say no greater than 200 on the histogram chart seems to prevent overly bright crater walls when processing the image.  The above image was taken using this technique.

Here is Gassendi.  Notice the bright crater wall on the west side of the crater.  This was taken a little too bright yet.  The over-exposure limits the detail in those areas.  The rimae are nicely resolved in this image.

Here is Mercenius.  There are a few washed out areas, but overall this is a good image.  A fair amount of detail is present, with small craterlets visible as well as some small rima's.

Here is crater Schilller.  Again, nice detail.  The rough landscape in this area of the moon is quite apparent.

And lastly, Sinus Iridium.  The lava flows are visible, but not so apparent as the sun was striking this area more directly.  There are some small craterlets visible in the sea bottom.  The maria floor is quite smooth as you would expect, and the terrain is quite rough to the west.

As a bonus, I stayed up late enough to image Saturn.  Saturn is quite low this year, only attaining 25 degrees above the horizon at the meridian.  This image of Saturn was taken just before reaching due South in my sky, around 3AM.
The Cassini Division appears narrower in this image than previous images.  The size is also a little bigger, but it still is somewhat dim, which I'm beginning to think is a result of camera sensitivity.  Saturn will be a very difficult object this year because of how low it is.


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