Moon

2020-11-25 FQ Moon

First Quarter

Apparent size:29.8 arc min .
Diameter:3475 km (0.27 Earths).
Distance:400,411 km. (1.34 light seconds).
Magnitude: -10.9
Image date:2020-11-25

It was just one one of those nights when the sky was clear but the ten day old Moon was getting a bit too bright for deep sky imaging. Depressed by reading too much about the state of the world and the direction in which it has been heading, I needed to engage the broader Universe with some quiet time.

Time alone in the semi-darkness of my front driveway. Time to gaze at a night sky polluted by street lights and the Moon. Time to appreciate again my optical gear, which can punch through the murk, to expose some of our cosmic surrounds.

Time to view the Solar System.

Mars was overhead and Jupiter and Saturn together in the West – but I’ve already imaged all of three of them this year. So, interrupted only briefly by a neighbour wheeling his bins out and eager to share his latest news with me, I started off with the above Lunar image, before moving on to capture gas giant Uranus.

Due to swirling atmospheric conditions and moist air here on Earth, single shots of the Moon through a telescope can lack sharpness and are somewhat underwhelming. The solution is to take a short video, stack the best frames and discard the rest. In this instance I used Autostakkert to choose and stack the best forty frames out of 200 taken – and the resulting final image was quite sharp.

The improved quality of a stacked image permits some cropped views. The three images below show some interesting features and were derived from the main image.

2020-11-25 Moon Copernicus
2020-11-25 Moon Copernicus
Copernicus is a young circular lunar impact crater with central mountainous peaks. It has a hint of a hexagonal shape to it. It is 3.8 km deep and 93 km in diameter. It is famed for its outgoing lunar rays which spread for 800 km in all directions. (Image RP)
2020-11-25 Moon Northern Region
2020-11-25 Moon Northern Region
The most interesting features are the two mountain ranges, Montes Caucasus (top) and Montes Alpes (centre). The latter contains a prominent dagger shaped ravine (centre) 166 km long, named Valles Alpes. The large crater (centre right) is Plato (101 km dia). (Image RP)
2020-11-25 Moon Tycho Crater
2020-11-25 Moon Tycho
Crater Tycho (just right of centre) is 85km diameter and 4.8 km deep. It is not the largest crater in a region which is full of craters, but it is young compared to its neighbours and is well known for its lunar rays. (Image RP)

Telescope Details

SkyWatcher Esprit 120 mm apochromatic 3-element refractor; 840 mm f/l @ f/7.
Field flattener; 2x Televue Powermate. ZWO Duo-band Hα (656nm) and OIII (500nm) filter.
SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro mount; ZWO ASI120 guide camera.
Imaging camera: ZWO ASI 071 MC Pro (CMOS 28.4mm 16 Mpx).
Software: EQMOD, PHD2, SharpCap, Gimp.
Observatory location: 34° South.

Images © Roger Powell

I’m a founder member of Macarthur Astronomical Society

19 Comments

  1. Just wanted to drop you a quick email to say thank you for your awesome pics that appear in my inbox, I really enjoy them. Helps take me away from some of the madness of the world too 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you very much, Nea.

      It gives me great pleasure to learn that you like some of my images – and that it may bring some small degree of stress relief.

      Like

  2. What a treat !!! Thanks for the clicks tip. I save your posts until I have plenty of time to appreciate
    your work. It’s definitely stress relief.
    Fran

    Like

  3. Beautiful crisp image of the moon. Stacking can do wonders. The features along the terminator really stand out.

    I saw your 7.6 yrs notice below. Today, I looked at the fine print in a Sky & Telescope ad about an eclipse cruise off the coast of S. America to view the upcoming eclipse. Cost starts at $18,855. Out of my price range.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve yet to witness a total eclipse, only partials. So I am really looking forward to imaging one from my front driveway in 2028, as the centre point of the eclipse passes directly through Sydney.

      “Cost starts at $18,855” – sounds exorbitant but for an event like that the price is probably doubled.

      Whatever turns you on – but my Bride and I decided many years ago that cruise ships were a health risk which we would avoid.

      🙃

      Like

      1. We were on two cruises back in the late 80s before the ships became so large. We had a good time on both. Today, we are like you. Too many bad stories. We aren’t interested. Our most recent ‘cruise’ was a few years ago on a 12 passenger weeklong trip from Inverness to Ft. William Scotland via Loch Ness and two other lochs along the Caledonian Canal. Great fun. We would (might) do that one again.

        Liked by 1 person

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