Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Lunar eclipse at sunrise, October 8, 2014

Eclipsed Moon setting in totality, photographed from the Nanticoke-West Nanticoke bridge over the Susquehanna river, Nanticoke, PA.

A full account of my experience of this eclipse can be found here.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Waxing gibbous, October 4, 2014

Two views of the Waxing gibbous Moon. The first was taken at 10:22 PM in "Sports" mode, which uses a high shutter speed to capture fast motion - or cut down on the effect of any microscopic vibrations in the tripod. The second was taken at 10:24 PM in a manual mode that takes a lower-resolution image at 60 frames per second. This results in a dimmer image but has the effect of filtering out the glare of reflected sunlight. Adjusting the brightness and contrast results in an image that brings out fine details of the Moon's surface otherwise lost in the glare.

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.