The Moon 2013 February 19

I went a bit mad with imaging the Moon on this night, doing it with three different cameras and telescopes. So I did my usual whole Moon with the 80mm refractor, but I also made this redundant by taking a much larger whole Moon image with the 100mm f9 which is mounted with my C-14, in IR with DMK41 camera at 15fps. This can be zoomed in to examine parts of it in detail; it won’t fit on a monitor at full size (second image down, click twice). It has been so successful I will certainly use this combination again.  Finally I imaged Copernicus with C-14, Flea 3 and 3x Barlow, the same arrangement as I use for Jupiter.

With the very large image scale for Copernicus, one fact, or maybe opinion, that comes into my mind is that when attempting very high resolution imaging of lunar features on the terminator, and processing using stacking software and wavelet sharpening, you very easily hit the diffraction limit of the telescope, because the contrasts are so great, in a way you don’t when imaging Jupiter or Saturn with the same telescope (but you do when imaging double stars). You can see this looking at the central peak of Copernicus, standing out as a star-like point: it has a diffraction ring around it. The appearance of other features in this image is also influenced by edge diffraction, and this is a thing you regularly see in similar images.
moon2013-02-19-2326-DLA moon2013-02-19-2236-DLA moon2013-02-19-2142-DLA

The Moon 2013 January 22

Here’s another in my series of whole Moon portraits (or visible part of the Moon anyway) assembled from SkyNYX webcam images through 80mm f7.5. This is the Moon aged 10.1 days, the phase that gives the “sword-handle” view (as it was called in Patrick Moore’s books) of the mountains bordering the Sinus Iridium projecting from the terminator. (Click to enlarge)


The Virgo Cluster with the C-11 Hyperstar

Having not imaged any galaxies for a long time, here are a whole lot of them, around M 84 and M 86 in the Virgo Cluster, taken 2013 February 17. I have labelled the 25 brightest ones, down to around mag. 16, but one could go on and on with this exercise, the more you look, particularly at full scale, the more you see. And this is with only 1 hour exposure in the light-polluted skies of Outer London. Here are labelled and unlabelled versions of the image. There is considerable detail visible in some of the galaxies when the image is viewed full-size (click on it twice).

Messier 84, 86 and others in the Virgo Cluster M84-13-02-17IDAHyp2minlabelled

M5 with the 11-inch Hyperstar

Back to deep-sky imaging.

I got the C-11 Hyperstar system working again, in part to try to image NEO 2012 DA14, but it was cloudy when that came over. I adjusted the system the previous night (the Hyperstar always takes a lot of adjusting), and took this image of Messier 5. It’s a bit noisy as only 8 minutes exposure, but it shows the system is almost right. I’ve improved it over what I used before by adding a camera tilt adjuster, so the chip can be made precisely perpendicular to the light path.

Messier 5 is a nice globular cluster, but it never gets very high in our sky. Click twice to see max size (which is 2/3 original).

Messier 5

The Moon, 2012 December 29

I though I’d use a different method for imaging the Moon on this occasion. Attaching my Lumenera SkyNYX 2-0 camera (now superseded on C-14 for planetary duties) to an 80mm f7.5 ED refractor at prime focus, I videoed the gibbous Moon at 66fps in four sections through a deep red filter (Baader “30nm H alpha”), stacked the videos, enlarging them in the process using 1.5x drizzle in Autostakkert, sharpened them slightly in Registax, and combined the mosaic on the Mac using the very reasonable PanoEdit software (10 quid).

So here’s a mono 16-day old Moon. Best viewed full size (click on the image, possibly twice).

Lunar crater Atlas, 2012 December 30

I used here the same setup on the C-14 that I’ve been using for imaging Jupiter (as it is easier not to change it): the 3x Barlow and Flea 3. Seeing was not good. This is through an IR filter.

The crater Atlas is 87km in diameter, which makes the smallest craterlets in this image, and the width of the fractures on Atlas’s floor, about 1km or less.

The Moon and Jupiter in conjunction at Chrismas

On Christmas night 2012 the Moon and Jupiter got within a degree as seen from the UK, and from South America and Southern Africa there was an occultation of Jupiter.

This was actually quite a difficult scene to image, as the Moon is so much brighter than Jupiter, and Jupiter itself is so much brighter than its moons. This image is a merger of a short exposure recording the Moon and Jupiter (Jupiter’s cloud belts are just visible) and a long exposure recording Jupiter’s moons. The moons were “cut out” in Photoshop and could be accurately placed on the other image because one of them is so close to the planet. The image is best viewed at full size (click on it).

Merry Christmas and clear skies in 2013 to all readers.