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Ramblings of a luna(r)tic


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I'd been hoping to spend some time with the moon for a few days but this was scuppered by clouds and it was cloudy early this evening too. Clear Outside said it would clear at about 10 and although I was's optimistic, it did. I was all setup just in case and the scopes were cooled.

As a blanket of haze drifted by after the thick stuff went there was a lovely halo and not long after the sky was lovely and clear with the moon shining bright.

Imaging first, I took some frames first in the 102 refractor, I'd like to be able to use the 130 for full disk but at prime focus, it, well, won't. This evening I tried chopping up the rubbish barlow that came with it to move it closer to the sensor to no avail, it achieves focus but still too much mag. So back to the drawing board. The data's processing as I write this.

 When the imaging was done I put the newtonian back on the mount and put the Hyperion 8mm in the Revelation Astro 2.5x barlow for a 250x tour of the terminator and what a sight it was. 

The seeing was relatively good with very little 'wobble' and easy focus achieved although depth of field at this amount of magnification seems very evident requiring adjustment as one curves away from the terminator.

The region occupying the terminator isn't far off that of one of my first memorable sessions observing the moon this year in March but lit from the other side during a waxing crescent phase but the difference is remarkable. 

I put this down to my observing skills having developed significantly and everything I've learned since March, the quality of the gear - a more stable mount and more importantly the eyepiece and barlow I used this evening are significantly more capable. As evidenced by the image brightness - The better gear has higher transmission - I popped a cheapo skywatcher 10mm in the cheapo skywatcher 2x Barlow and the image was much less bright, It should have been brighter at lower mag. The newer equipment clearly resolves a much sharper image too, also the wider FOV helps to make things comfortable. Just a few details here then taken from my frenetic scribblings.

Mare Crisium, showing lovely features including the beautifully lit mountains around the Mare, Picard, Peirce and Swift all in a line adjacent to Dorsum Oppel.

Moving North over the massif to Cleomedes, an old favourite, the y shape of Rima Cleomedes on view. The baseline of the Y pointing north towards A & E and the top 2 branches of the Y reaching out as if trying to pass by Cleomedes J. Taking a walk up the slopes into Tralles to the North-West.

Tralles' high walls cast deep shadows across the mountainous floor to the North-West of Cleomedes and the shadows in Burckhardt are obscuring its central peak. 

On to Geminus now, it's central mountain poking through the shadows and good details showing on the Eastern slopes up to Geminus C and Bernoulli. Bernoulli is almost entirely in shadow, only the North Eastern wall is visible.

For fun I switched to the 102 Frac, which gives approx 280x magnification with the same eyepiece/barlow combo and the views were still sharp.

Moving South to the Messier and Messier A pair with their rays shining bright, the triangle of Bilharz, Atwood and Naonobu just showing their Eastern walls in highlight and the Western side of Langrenus high western walls. On further South to the massive central peak in Petavius poking out of the shadows and it's Eastern neighbour Wrottesly. 

Moving further South again for a real treat, on past the very elongated Rheita E, around Rheita and past the two interesting little craters Young A & B to Vallis Rheita. I recall that VMA calls this an exceptional formation which it certainly is and Michael Bird describes the valley edges as resembling crater walls. It was immediately recognisable from this description.

For a single target the moon has so much to offer and I urge anyone and everyone to enjoy it. Even The Present Mrs Foster popped out for a wow moment around the Northern region of Crisium and Cleomedes.

Clear skies.



Edited by johnfosteruk
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Thanks Paul. It really is a great target and there are challenges just like DSO. 

This lunarcy has come about because of the light pollution. I still love hunting for DSOs myself and one day I'm sure I will be able to image them too. But for the moon I don't need to get to a dark site to have a great session. 

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A great report report of an outstanding region of our neighbour.

When I started I tended to disregard the moon but now find the more I observe it the more enjoyable it is.

BTW have you started the Lunar 100 challenge yet, I find this great fun and it encourages you to observe off the beaten track.

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3 minutes ago, Astro Imp said:

BTW have you started the Lunar 100 challenge yet, I find this great fun and it encourages you to observe off the beaten track.

I have Alan, and ticked a few off last night as it goes including the Rheita Valley as mentioned. It certainly does hone your observing skills just like a low magnitude fuzzy does :)


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