Wednesday, October 1, 2014

First quarter and clouds, October 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 1 was the First Quarter point, the day the the Moon appears lit up on its Western-facing half. It was also just the second day of this lunar cycle that wasn't completely clouded out - for a little while.

The Moon seemed unusually bright, and the camera had a hard time adjusting to it. Tripod shot at 42x magnification. Image taken at 8:19 PM, shortly before the Moon vanished entirely - see below.

I used my standard trick for teasing out detail when the Moon is so bright: I took images at 60 frames per second and enhanced them. This mode takes sixty lower-resolution shots in a row, and the images are usually so dim that, except at Full Moon, some enhancement is needed. I crank up the brightness and the contrast to manipulate the data in the image so that things that are washed-out in regular images become visible. This results in an eerie view of the Moon under lighting conditions that we never experience in real life, showing craters and rays and highlands that are not visible in a typical image. Taken at 8:12 PM.

A huge, thick cloud bank rolls to cover the Moon at 8:15 PM. In a few minutes, this brought the evening's photography to an end, and I was able to resume my garbage night duties. Note the teapot of Sagittarius directly below the Moon.

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