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.

36% Crescent Moon July 24, 2012

Tonight’s waxing crescent moon is up to 36% compared to two days ago at only 15%. I had just enough break in the clouds, and time before it went below the trees on the horizon to get out and get some shots of it again tonight. This is a total of 45 images stacked in Registax, and post processed in Photoshop. Omni XLT 150 and Canon 350D prime focus.

36% Waxing Gibbous Moon. 07-24-12

My favorite features when looking at the moon are the craters along the terminator. For those that don’t know, the terminator is the shadow along the moon. I especially like the craters along the terminator that the ridge is illuminated while the rest of the crater is immersed in shadow.

Setting Stars -Time-lapse

The night of March 31st to the morning of April 1st I captured many images of the stars to make a time-lapse. I haven’t put one of these together since January, so I figured I’d have another go at it.

I set my camera up in my backyard next to my fence and had to aim over it along with the neighbors roof. Started capturing images around 8:30pm, and turned it off right before I headed to bed at around 3:30am. Each shot I took was at an exposure of 15seconds, ISO 400, and F3.1 with the intervalometer set to take a picture every 15 seconds. This is a bit different on how I usually do them, and I’m very pleased with how smooth it turned out.

Although the bright moon passes in my view, the video stars with Venus and Orion setting ends with Leo taking a nose dive towards the horizon. The bright orange “star” near the end, in Leo, is not a star, but is Mars.

The quality of the video is much better than the quality of this single frame youtube selected as the video image. So click play, select 720 or 1080, make full screen and enjoy 7 hours of star movement from the comfort of your computer chair in less than 30 seconds.