Saturday, September 27, 2014

Saturn and a Waxing crescent, Saturday, September 27, 7:35 PM

I hadn't really done my homework before I went out to photograph the Moon last night, so I was a little surprised by how far off it was to the South. I also didn't know what the bright "star" off to the left was, but I tried my best to capture it in my images.

The "star" turned out to be Saturn.

I learned all sorts of things about my camera last night. Like, when I take an image in "Night Landscape" mode, it actually takes four images and layers them together. That the camera is very sensitive to any vibration as these photos are taken. And that my Nikon Coolpix P520 is capable of resolving Saturn.
Yep. That's Saturn.
Next time I'll try Sports mode. Will the high shutter speed produce a clearer image, or just a dimmer one?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jupiter and a Waning crescent, September 19, 2014

The Moon and Jupiter in the pre-dawn Eastern sky, September 19, 2014, 6:13 AM

Waning crescent Moon, September 19, 2014, 6:16 AM

Monday, September 15, 2014

Last quarter amongst the clouds: September 15, 2014, 12:33 AM

Last night the Moon wasn't quite at Last quarter, but it was pretty darned close. Unfortunately it was obscured by broken clouds that thundered across its face. Sometimes it put in an appearance, as did nearby Aldebaran.

September 15, 2014, 12:33 AM
Detail of above featuring the Moon and Aldebaran

I took a series of close-up shots, but the clouds were a constant problem. Below are the best two images.

September 15, 2014, 12:35 AM

September 15, 2014, 12:36 AM

Sunday, September 14, 2014

September 14, 2014, 2:43 - 2:44 AM

The Moon was at an in-between phase last night, Waning gibbous on its way to Last quarter. I find the quarter (or "half") phases most interesting, as details tend to show up more sharply due to the long shadows at or near the terminator.

I'm presenting these photos out of order. This is a regular image taken at 2:44 AM. In it you can see the remarkable shadows in the craters along the terminator, as well as sunlight reflecting off the tops of mountains beyond the terminator!

However, the "bright" parts of the Moon, where the sun is closer to directly overhead, are washed out and overexposed. They show up better with a short exposure shot at 60 frames per second. As these shots are very dim, I needed to adjust the brightness and contrast. This also brings out fine details not visible in the normal photograph. (The colors in this photo are, I believe, a side effect of this adjustment.)

This also causes some of the fine details along the terminator to get lost. Here is a close-up of those details from the first photo:

A note on the sizes of things:

The large round feature along the terminator in the top half of the photo is Mare Serenetatis. There's a small bright crater at the bottom called Menalaus, 27 kilometers across - about 17 miles. That's not even the smallest feature in this image. Not bad for a picture of something 238,900 miles away!

Here Menalaus is the bright crater on the center left. The image clearly shows many smaller craters south of it. And check out the wrinkle of Dorsa Smirnov clearly visible in the upper part of Mare Serenitatis!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 7, 2014, 10:05 PM

Waxing gibbous, just a few hours from Full. 60fps, contrast and brightness enhanced.