A spring lunar mosaic

It's spring time and when the Moon's close to its first quarter phase it tends to sit high in the sky after sunset and looks quite superb. If you're into deep sky observing/imaging, the natural light pollution from the Moon is a bit of a pain, casting a glare across the sky which can cause all manner of issues with your shots. If you're into Solar System imaging on the other hand, the lure of the Moon is irresistible.

However, turn a telescope onto the Moon's surface for some close up imaging, and suddenly what looked like the perfect target, turns to mush due to poor or average seeing. This has happened to me several times over the past few days and when it happens, I drop back the power and have to satisfy myself with imaging the Moon at lower powers than I had hoped.

Attractive though these images can be, the fun for me is to take a lot of overlapping images and join them together in a sort of lunar jigsaw puzzle known as a mosaic. On April 10th 2011, the Moon looked it's usual lovely self and so I decided to grab a full set of panes to cover the entire 43% lit surface. Using my particular telescope combination (a C-14 at prime focus with a Lumenera SKYnyx 2-0M high frame-rate camera) it took 63 frames to cover the entire Moon and working at 60 frames per second just over 22 minutes to complete my captures. 

The latest version of freeware Registax has just been released (now on version 6) so this was a great way to check out how well this update performed. Actually, it did pretty well and even with half an eye on processing the mosaic I managed to get through it all quite quickly. Then a final assembly in Photoshop and hey presto, my April 10th mosaic was done. 

The image is quite large as I've decided to show it at the full capture size. You can see it by following the link below...

www.digitalsky.org.uk/lunar/2011-04-10_21-35-33_742-mosaic-full8.jpg

I hope you like it and would agree with me that a lunar mosaic certainly is a good example of that old adage - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

 

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