Sunday, May 30, 2010

Full Moon Plus Two, Mare Crisium, Langrenus

Okay, here's the full Moon plus two days.
If you compare the shots of the full Moon to these, you can see how much difference the terminator makes in helping to define features.
First let me say, that I tried taking images just using the digital zoom on my camera.
Resolution sucked.
So, I had to haul out the ole telescope to get these pics.
Now, these aren't the greatest for there was still a lot of heat in the atmosphere; you could still see heat shimmers.
Best time to take high rez images would be when the Moon is at zenith, or at it's highest point in the sky.
Well, I couldn't wait, it's pretty late here.
So, plus two days:

Now that's a mirror image that's been reversed via the magic of Photoshop so that now it's in the correct relationship to your naked eyeball.
You can start to see detail and the shadows provide some depth. The mountains that encircle Mare Crisium are now quite evident and you can see some peaks in the middle of some craters.
I mean walled plains:

That crater on the top with the central peak is called Langrenus, named after some Belgian guy who apparently drew the first map of the Moon. Langrenus is 132km across.
Below that is Vendelinus, named after another Belgian guy, below that, the other crater with the central peak is Petavius, named after a French theologian.
Petavius is 177km across.
The last large walled plain is Fernerius, named after some Frenchy.
Here's a blow up of Mare Crisium:

The higher ground that surrounds it is pretty spectacular.
I wish these images could reproduce exactly what I see in the eyepiece, but unfortunately, the human eye corrects for errors a lot faster than a camera lens can. The view I see is pretty much crystal, well except for the heat waves. The camera unfortunately picks up all the crap in the atmosphere.
The large telescopes, like the ones on Mauna Kea, are built with what's called adaptive optics. The mirros that make up the main reflector constantly move and adjust to the conditions, just like the human eye.
I'm also not much of a photographer.
Sculpture major don't you know.
I'll try to keep taking pictures, weather permitting, as the Moon waxes.
If I catch anything interesting, I'll be sure to post it up.

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