Monday, May 31, 2010

Full Moon Plus Three, Atlas and Hercules

Three days after the full Moon.
I didn't expect to see so much change.
Of course the Moon is no longer circular; it's beginning to appear elongated.
It is also rising a lot later in the evening, which may become a problem for me.
I have to say, I've never looked at the Moon this way before.
I mean, I've looked at the Moon.
Just not on consecutive nights.
Good stuff.
For me anyways.
Okay, Moon plus three:

This is about the sharpest image I have taken yet. Not tack sharp, but pretty close to what I see in the eyepiece.
I wouldn't have posted this up, but Mare Crisium is almost totally in the dark. The only thing left visible is the ring of high ground that surrounds it:

You can start to get an idea of depth and height of some of the features. The shadows help to define stuff that during the full Moon is washed out.
In the picture above, the two prominent craters that are off to the left of middle are Hercules(69km) and Atlas(87km).
On the west side, a whole bunch of craters:

Average size is between 70-90km across.
I boosted the contrast on the close ups to improve definition.
I also tried out the neutral density filter tonight but it didn't really help. My guess is that it only helps when the Moon is full.
Although these images were taken while the Moon was fairly low on the horizon, there was very little heat in the atmosphere which may explain the extra sharpness in the images.
I have to go back and take another look at the previous shots to see if I missed any good ones.
Actually it's good that the Moon is rising late. I may be able to get in some star field shots although the good part of the Milky Way doesn't rise until early morning.
I hope to get in some nice pics when the Moon goes new and the Summer Triangle appears.
The Summer Triangle is made up of three bright stars: Vega in the constellation Lyra, Deneb in Cygnus and Altair in Aquila.
Right now, the Summer Triangle is following the Moon rise, so it's a bit washed out.
Anyways, I can't wait to see what the Moon looks like tomorrow.

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