The Monarch of the Moon.

The Monarch of the Moon.

Postby Aratus » Tue Jan 19, 2016 7:28 pm

As it got dark on 18th Jan the skies began to clear and the temperatures fell. By 9pm it was freezing, but the sky was very clear. I donned a couple of coats, ski boots and fur hat. Chocky the cat joined me as usual, pausing to drink from the frozen pond. (A trick she learnt as a kitten is to put her weight on the ice which causes the water to come over the edge, which she licks.) As soon as I had switched on the telescope and aligned on the moon I could tell it was going to be a good night. The seeing was very steady, and it allowed a lot of detail to come through. Copernicus, being almost on the terminator, was astounding. (Patrick Moore used to call it 'the Monarch of the Moon') The terracing on the sunlit side was very detailed. I could even detect of couple of the vertical valleys you sometimes read about. I think the sun-lit side was illuminating the dark side very faintly. Nearby Eratosthenes was equally clear with 3 central peaks easily discernable There appeared to be 2 small, shallow craters on the floor of Eratosthenes which I don't recall seeing before. The ghost crater Stadius was very apparant with that amazing line of tiny craters running north/south. To the south of Copernicus there seemed to be dozens of hillocks or domes, each casting a little shadow.

After spending a pleasant hour or so looking at other features, I was gently tapped on the leg by my feline observing companion. (she is the boss!) I didn't go straight in but used my binoculars to find Comet Catalina. It was fairly near Alcor and Mizar in the 'plough'. It was a little larger than when I last looked. Using the double star as a guide I would say it was around 18 minutes of arc across.
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
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Re: The Monarch of the Moon.

Postby Aratus » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:06 pm

I've now had a chance to process the images I took of Copernicus and Eratosthenes on Monday. I've posted it up here to illustrate the report.
Image
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
Aratus
 
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Location: East Lincolnshire

Re: The Monarch of the Moon.

Postby Aratus » Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:42 pm

Four days later when the moon was nearly full, I went out again to take a careful look at the ray system coming out of Copernicus. I spent ages following the individual rays. Some of them seeming to split, widen, narrow, and sometimes join back together again. Some of the rays appear to originate within the crater. It certainly disproves the notion that you can't observe the full moon and see any detail - just see different detail! The terracing inside the crater is visible along with some vertical vallies.

I couldn't help but take a photo. Kepler is the smaller 'splash crater' to the left with a distinctly assymetrical splash.

Image
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
Aratus
 
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Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:17 pm
Location: East Lincolnshire

Re: The Monarch of the Moon.

Postby dave.b » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:24 am

Excellent work!

What setup did you use?

Dave B.
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The Monarch of the Moon.

Postby Aratus » Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:12 pm

The photos are taken through an 8" SCT using a Canon DSLR 500D and Backyard EOS software on a laptop.
For lunar features I generally use ISO 200 and 1/60sec and take around 700 images and stack 15% using Registax 6.

The Backyard EOS software really helps to get the focussing right, and I use the 'planetary' feature to zoom in on the feature I want. It also automates the actual image taking. Really I just take photos of solar system objects to illustrate the visual report in my log, but occasionally they come out really well.
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
Aratus
 
Posts: 870
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:17 pm
Location: East Lincolnshire

Re: The Monarch of the Moon.

Postby dave.b » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:28 am

I really must take a close look at Backyard EOS. Is it really with the money over the supplied Canon PC camera control software?

Dave B.
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Re: The Monarch of the Moon.

Postby Aratus » Thu Jan 28, 2016 11:06 pm

I was dubious too, but a friend who had used it a lot put me on to it. You get a free 30 day trial, but I bought it after trying it out for just one night! The EOS software is not bad, but there is so much more you can do with EOS backyard. The 5x (and 10x zoom feature to a certain extent) makes planetary and lunar feature photography so much easier. The focus system takes the guess work out of the focus by returning a numerical value. You change the focus until you get the smallest number. You can also automate the shots. For instance you could tell it to take 20 images at 30sec, 15 images at 60 secs and 10 images at 90 secs, and then go inside while it does it, or use your binoculars, or feed the cat or whatever you like. :)

The only problem I've had is on one occasion taking too many shots too quickly. (360x30sec continuous) The software tries to work at your speed but buffers anything it can't do straight away. If you take a lot of shots continuously it never catches up and eventually clogs itself up. That is due to partly having a 6 year old laptop, and partly not taking any notice of the buffer. A faster multi-core processor would probably help. In normal leisurely use though, it isn't a problem.

As I say, you can trial it for a month for free, so you can't lose really. You have to open an account with an email address, but it isn't one of these that takes your card details. You only pay if you want to use it after 30 days. I've never been pestered via the email address. http://www.otelescope.com/index.php?/page/trial.html
I use an 11" reflector (Celestron CPC 1100) and a 3" refractor, (Sky-Watcher ST80) mounted on an equatorial wedge, housed in a 2.2m Pulsar observatory. I use a ZWO ASI 120MM, ZWO ASI1600MC and Canon 1300D for imaging.
Aratus
 
Posts: 870
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:17 pm
Location: East Lincolnshire


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