Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mare Imbrium at the terminator

Encouraged by a forecast of good conditions from the Clear Sky Chart, this evening I set up my 6" Newtonian telescope with the hopes of testing The Wife's Canon 50D on some astrophotography. Before sundown I attempted to set up a proper polar alignment for the tracking motor. Alas, my polar alignment wasn't spot-on, as there was some obvious drift in the viewfinder. And double alas, as high, thin clouds swept through around 7 p.m., degrading viewing just enough to make it frustrating. And triple alas, because by 7:30 p.m. the temperature had dropped to the dewpoint, and everything started getting wet as the sky grew hazy. I finally gave up and packed it in.

I did manage to fire off a few shots of the moon before things got too bad, however. The Wife's Canon 50D was pretty darn impressive. The Live View feature is a wonder for focusing. I'd struggled mightily in the past, but by zooming in 5x on Live View, I was able to manually adjust the focus until the craters looked tack sharp, as the popular saying goes. Conditions weren't optimal for great photos, but I did get a few of moderate quality. Below we have Mare Imbrium at the terminator:

This is the northern region of the moon. The mountain range sweeping up from the terminator is Montes Apenninus. The broad, flat area to the left is Mare Imbrium, and the one to the right is Mare Serenitatis. The large crater in the center of Mare Imbrium is Archimedes, with the smaller craters to the right Autolycus and Aristillus, in order. The mountain range that arcs back toward the terminator is Montes Alpes, and the crater right there at the far end, bathed in shadow, is Plato, a whopper more than 60 miles across.

Now Playing: Dave Davies Unfinished Business

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