Full Moon – Wolf Moon 01-26-13

January 26, 2013 was the first full moon of the year. Due to old Native American tribes that heard hungry wolf packs howling outside of villages this moon is often referred to as the Full Wolf Moon. Sometimes the January moon is also called the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule.

We had some very clear skies for the full moon this month, so I decided to take it upon myself to gather some images of it with the telescope. No deep sky observing since the Full Moon washes them out and makes it awfully hard to do long exposures.

Full Wolf Moon

Moon – Full Wolf Moon – 01-26-13

This is a total of 100 images stacked in Registax and edited in Photoshop. I did some saturation bumping to this image to bring out a bit of the color on the moon.

Omni XLT 150 with CG-4 mount
Canon 350D
T-ring and adapter
Polar Scope for alignment

93% Waxing Gibbous Moon – 10-26-12

I haven’t posted much lately, mostly due to the clouds that have taken over the Adirondacks. I did get a clear night a few days before Halloween, and I also got my Logitech C250 webcam which I got to try out that night. I got it setup so I can attempt planetary, but clouds have gotten in the way of this. I happened to get the moon in about 11 sections, then stitched them together to create a moon Mosaic. I’m not extremely happy with the way it turned out, I still have a bit of playing around to do to get it down, but I figure I’ll share what I did come up with. I do notice that with my DSLR taking a full image of the moon after cropping I get an image that is roughly 1173×1095, and with the webcam making a mosaic the full image is roughly 1565×1756, so there is a benefit to doing this with the webcam, now I just have to master the capturing, stitching, and editing of the image to get a final result. I bit more work in the process, but the final image is much larger.


Above is two images of what needs to be done to set up a webcam for imaging through a telescope. This will come in very handy for live streaming via Google+ of the moon and planets. May also be good to show off some sunspots during the day. If you’re on G+ please feel free to follow me there: Mike Rector or on Twitter: @AdirondackAstro where I will share links to any live videos, or previously recorded ones.

One other thing I notice is that no matter how well I focus, craters and detail on the moon just aren’t as sharp as they are with the DSLR. Even when editing the videos in Registax, the sharpness seems to be a bit soft. Like I said though, some more playing around may give me better results. For such a cheap webcam, can be found between $5-$10 dollars on Amazon (click through the link on the sidebar), I really can’t complain. I’m looking forward to getting some Jupiter images this winter.

93% Waxing Gibbous Moon Mosaic - 10-26-12

Image above was taken with the webcam in 11 sections, stacked in registax, stitched together in Hugin, and then brought back into registax to adjust the wavelets to sharpen up some of the details. As you can see there are some issue with a few sections of the craters, and just an overall softness that I’d like to try to get rid of for my next moon mosaic. All programs mentioned are free.

International Observe The Moon Night

Not sure if the Adirondacks will be clearing up for this event tonight (September 22), but tonight astronomers around the world will be looking up at the moon. This years International Observe The Moon Night (InOMN) is in memory of the late Neil Armstrong. His families wishes is for you to wink at the moon in honor of Neil Armstrong tonight, and any night you may see the moon in the sky.

Image of the Moon close to the phase it will be tonight

InOMN was originally celebrated for the wonderful lunar data collected by missions like Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter, Chandrayaan-1, and other spacecraft sent to the moon. On this day there are observatories, and astronomy events held by local clubs all over. You can visit the official InOMN website to find events and locations near you.
**Update** Scott Lewis (@BaldAstronomer on twitter) shared his website to all three parts to the InOMN showing views of the moon from Australia/New Zealand, Turkey, Denmark, UK, and USA.
For those of us stuck under clouds all day Cosmoquest.org will be sharing live views streaming from all over the world. They have already had a couple sessions, and at the time of this being posted they are on a break for a few hours. If you watch my twitter feed I will be posting a link to the youtube channel where the live stream is when it’s back up and running. You can also watch for it on the Consmoquest website, or if you’re on Google+ you can can follow +Cosmoquest and watch live from there when it is posted.
As I said it’s not looking too promising her for the clouds to clear, but if I get the opportunity to get out and look at the moon, I will get pictures and possibly also stream some live video via G+/Youtube. If you’re on G+ you can find me and add me, +Mike Rector.

Wink at the Moon – 92% Waning Gibbous

On Sunday, September 2, I went out with my telescope, Orion Starshoot USB Eyepiece, laptop, and a very long lead-cord to share my live view of the Moon on Google+ as a test to see if I could in fact share the view. I invited many people, but only a few showed up which I’m guessing it was because it was almost midnight. I did stay on sharing the views until about 3am on Monday morning when I decided to sign off, and hook up the Canon 350D to capture some images of the moon.

I never did get out on Friday, the day of the Blue Moon, to image it and dedicate it to Neil Armstrong who passed away on August 25, 2012. The first man to walk on the moon passed away on a month that had a blue moon, and was buried on the day of the second full moon in the month of August. Seems like a fitting end to a life well lived.

92% Waning Gibbous Moon

Since I was unable to get out on the night of the Blue Moon I figured I’d get some images of the Moon, and still dedicate it to the great man, Neil Armstrong. The image above is 53 single images stacked in Registax and edited in Photoshop.

The image below, although blurry, is Mare Tranquillitatis, which is Latin for Sea of Tranquility.

Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility)

Mare Tranquillitatis is in the middle of the image, which is the dark basalt area formed during the younger years of the Moon. To the very left of this crater is a small white spot (within the dark basalt section) this is roughly the area that Apollo 11 landed. This is a single image edited in Photoshop. P.S. Don’t mind the sensor dust.

88% Waxing Gibbous Moon July 29, 2012

We all enjoy a good deep space object, imaging gaseous regions responsible for the birth of stars within our galaxy; we also love imaging galaxies that host millions billions of stars which could also host planets that in turn could host Earth like planets, and you can’t forget about the beautiful explosions of a star forming a planetary nebula. Unfortunately imaging all those objects becomes quite difficult with the bright moon. So what does an astronomer do when the moon becomes too bright and washes out the dim little fuzzies within, or outside of our galaxy? Well it’s simple really, we image our closest and brightest object, the Moon, or planets if they are visible from your viewing location.

88% Waxing Gibbous Moon. 07-29-12

I have found a great joy in capturing the moon and bringing out the detail of the craters along the terminator, and even along the brightly lit surface. This image is of the 88% Waxing Gibbous Moon on the night of July 29, 2012 as it was near the meridian from my front yard. I managed to get 50 images, 48 of the best images were used to stack and create the image above.

Equipment: Omni XLT 150 on a CG-4 tripod with RA and DEC motor, Canon 350D, and t-ring and adapter for prime focus imaging.