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Mr trick

Best setup for moon detail

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Hi guys

  So I'm still pondering equipment and learning as much as possible. Turn left at Orion just landed from Amazon and I'm watching utube constantly. 

 What setup's are people using to view the moon in such detail?

 Some videos I can tell it's a telescope other videos they are studying photos. 

 Also from the very best amature telescopes, what sort of scale can you actually see down to? 

I was watching moon anomalies videos as the player was on automatic. Blown away by the detail level they are viewing at. 

 So many questions ? Haha I just can't turn my mind off! 

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I can't bring anything to the table here yet (since I'm a starter myself) but I will ask the question others will probably ask.

What do you mean with detail? I have seen people take pictures of the moon with a very simple telescope and a cellphone which had so much detail in it.

There will be a lot of good gear out there to get those nice and detailed pictures but what will you do after you seen the moon?

Edited by Pieter
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Most / all ? scopes will show details of craters on the Moon, the longer focal length the more close up and personal you can get, something like a 14"SCT will get you REALLY close but they're a bit impractical for day to day use :grin:

Dave

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11 minutes ago, Mr trick said:

Hi guys

  So I'm still pondering equipment and learning as much as possible. Turn left at Orion just landed from Amazon and I'm watching utube constantly. 

 What setup's are people using to view the moon in such detail?

 Some videos I can tell it's a telescope other videos they are studying photos. 

 Also from the very best amature telescopes, what sort of scale can you actually see down to? 

I was watching moon anomalies videos as the player was on automatic. Blown away by the detail level they are viewing at. 

 So many questions ? Haha I just can't turn my mind off! 

@Mr trick,

I took a few photo's (which are on my profile) with a Skywatcher 150p and my iPhone 6 Plus. These have come out pretty well but the level of detail i was looking at through the lens was 3x more impressive! I used both a 10mm and a 25mm EP. (shipped with the 'scope) I believe the kit i have is considered a reasonable amature 'scope :)

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Aperture, focal length and good seeing are what's needed.

An 11" SCT should be well able to resolve craters of about 2Km in diameter.

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8 minutes ago, Zakalwe said:

Aperture, focal length and good seeing are what's needed.

The Moon's phase is also an important factor - full tends to bleach out a lot of the detail, while concentrating on the terminator region in the first quarter can reveal some spectacular contrast.

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I think the moon always looks good in any telescope. If your telescope doesn't do much else, I think it should do well on the moon. (Happy to be corrected here).

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seeing is by far the most important factor, you can have the best of kit costing many ks but it wont make a bit of difference if the seeings bad. I tend to lean towards refactors, I use a ed80  for full discs and a AR12L f9.5 for close ups, check out my ficker link in sig for my latest shots. clear skys charl.

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Thanks for the replies 

 Pics with an iPhone!!!! Wow 

 I think I used the wrong words eg detail!

 It would help if I could work out scale on the moon , so for example if there were for a Boeing 747 on the moon , could you see it with an amature telescope set up??   

Apologies for the example, just the first thing I thought of ha.

 

 

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I was looking at a craterlet on the Moon Sunday morning, it was only just visible,  but its only 4 miles in diameter! using a 6mm eyepiece providing 200x power.
I have viewed the Moon at 375x on special nights, but I was impressed on this occasion, looking at the  the craterlet, due to the  local street  light  sitting between me and the Moon. you just can't compete with all that glare?

Edited by Charic
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You'd probably need a Lunar Orbiter to see a Jumbo Jet but large scopes can resolve quite small craters.

If you look in the Lunar imaging section you can see folks images and the equipment used and using a good Moon map see the size of the smallest details resolved.

Dave

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7 minutes ago, Mr trick said:

 It would help if I could work out scale on the moon , so for example if there were for a Boeing 747 on the moon , could you see it with an amature telescope set up??   

 

Short answer: No. A 747 has a wingspan of 60m and a length of 76m. You'd need the LRO to image that.


What do you mean by amateur setup? For some thats an 80mm scope on an alt-az mount. For others it's a 14" SCT mounted on a fully computerised GOTO.

Edited by Zakalwe
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6 minutes ago, xtreemchaos said:

seeing is by far the most important factor, you can have the best of kit costing many ks but it wont make a bit of difference if the seeings bad. I tend to lean towards refactors, I use a ed80  for full discs and a AR12L f9.5 for close ups, check out my ficker link in sig for my latest shots. clear skys charl.

Amazing pics, simply stunning. Can't believe all my life IV been fascinated by what's above us but not started learning till now.  

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some good advice above about seeing & phases. Are you looking for a new telescope? What budget do you have in mind?

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/evostar/skywatcher-evostar-120-with-eq3-2-eq3-pro-eq5-eq5-pro-heq5-mounts.html

this would be a reasonable choice, It's longer focal length will allow you to get to higher magnification with longer focal length eye pieces - but don't be sucked in with magnification, tops for this scope would be x250, a good night in the UK will allow that (but we don't get many). I actually quite like watching the boiling effect of the atmosphere wave across the moon at high mag (my highest mag is x185, and I find this plenty for the moon)

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I'm getting more and more confused haha

 So we have satellites with cameras that can zoom right in to minute detail on our earth!?  I'm sure many years ago they boasted they could read newspaper print from orbit!?  (I may be completely wrong here)

 IV just googled lro images of Apollo landing site and it's still quite a long way off what I would have expected.

 I think my lifelong perspective of distance to the moon is way off the mark. I assumed once in orbit with no atmosphere to hinder optics we could see better looking out rather than back in through our atmosphere.

 The learning curve on this subject is big haha

 

 

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1 minute ago, rockystar said:

some good advice above about seeing & phases. Are you looking for a new telescope? What budget do you have in mind?

https://www.firstlightoptics.com/evostar/skywatcher-evostar-120-with-eq3-2-eq3-pro-eq5-eq5-pro-heq5-mounts.html

this would be a reasonable choice, It's longer focal length will allow you to get to higher magnification with longer focal length eye pieces - but don't be sucked in with magnification, tops for this scope would be x250, a good night in the UK will allow that (but we don't get many). I actually quite like watching the boiling effect of the atmosphere wave across the moon at high mag (my highest mag is x185, and I find this plenty for the moon)

I haven't bought any equipment yet.  Purchased so far books , magazine's and a planisphere.   I have a small pair of binoculars for now.

 Definitely need to learn alot before any nice shiny toys are aquired.  Was looking at a mak127 but much more research is required

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This explanation has no scientific basis but imagine if you had a scope with a mirror the same size as the Moon and you could see every detail on the Moon.

Then if you had a scope with a mirror half as big as the Moon and you only see down to half the details on the surface.

Now if you have a scope with a 10" mirror you can see the problem

Cameras are limited by the size of their pixels so anything smaller than a pixel won't be imaged

Dave

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geostationary orbit (where those satellites live) is about 35, 000 km, the moon is about 400,000 km away. So a good order of magnitude further.

I also don't think it was true - I think it was just propaganda.

those satellites cost billions of dollars, your back yard scope will be a couple of hundred quid.

 

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Mak 127 would be a good choice a bit more manageable than a 120 Evostar but maybe not as versatile.

Dave

 Seen some USA spy satellite video they can indeed read newspaper headlines and vehicle number plates etc from orbit, bit closer than the Moon though :grin:

Edited by Davey-T
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The moon falls into an odd catagory, I recall helping someone with a 200mm lens on a camera get some shots. The moon is big enough and bright enough that is the camera is set to center spot metering then you can point a camera at it in auto mode and get an image. There is not really anthing else that we can do that with.

From memory most seem to go down the planetary imaging approach and use an SCT/Mak and a webcam. Then enter the video into software, select the best frame and stack say the best 100 or so that match it.

Do you want to get all the moon or a specific crater, would expect taht a refractor, say Tal or 102/1000mm ES/Bresser etc would get a good single shot of the whole moon. For a single bit say the crater Archemedes, then a Mak/SCT is required (likely with barlow).

Will ask Why the moon?

Reason is that when people say they want to image planets I tend to point out the limited number of planets to image (3). How many images of the moon do you want?

If the intention is to build up a record of the various lunar craters as a sort of reference then no problems.

 

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To give you an idea, this image is at a reasonably high magnification (not sure what, but I would say over x250). That crater middle right, piccolomini, is 88km in diameter, don't think you'd see your Jumbo Jet in the middle of it ;):)

 

moon4.jpg

(credit for image: https://www.datsi.fi.upm.es/Hyperion/luna_ing.html)

Edited by rockystar
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9 minutes ago, rockystar said:

geostationary orbit (where those satellites live) is about 35, 000 km, the moon is about 400,000 km away. So a good order of magnitude further.

I also don't think it was true - I think it was just propaganda.

those satellites cost billions of dollars, your back yard scope will be a couple of hundred quid.

 

Thanks for replying. 

 The images from the lro on Apollo landing site tho , surly they would have better zoom??  I'm assuming very little atmosphere compared to earth . It's so confusing haha

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For lunar observing, good seeing is the number one requirement.  High magnification and large aperture are great IF THE SEEING IS EXCELLENT.  In average UK seeing conditions you're not really going to see much benefit from apertures much greater than 8" to 10".

Equipment wise, I would suggest the following priorities

  • Long focal length
  • Easily collimated or very good fixed collimation optics
  • Aperture

The best bang for your buck on these criteria would probably be -

  • Maksutov Cassegrain (very long focal length and fixed collimation well corrected optics) 
  • Maksutov/Newtonian (long focal length, well corrected optics, user collimation) 
  • Schmitt Cassegrain (SCT) (long focal length, easily collimated) 
  • Newtonian (relatively inexpensive, but not so long focal length and a bit more complicated user collimation) 

Refractors are great, but one with long focal length, well corrected optics and a decent aperture is going to be pricey.

An SCT will probably be the most versatile scope for lunar observing, but if you've definitely decided on lunar observing as your main subject, personally I would plumb for a Maksutov Cassegrain.  I've never failed to be impressed of the view of the moon through a large Maksutov Cassegrain such as the Skywatcher SkyMax 180 Pro.

I hope this helps.

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A spy satellite is a completely different kettle of fish to the sort of camera that can be sent to the Moon from the perspective of weight alone.

People can't understand why we couldn't fly to the Moon in the Space Shuttle despite what Sci Fi movies would have us believe.

Dave

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24 minutes ago, Davey-T said:

This explanation has no scientific basis but imagine if you had a scope with a mirror the same size as the Moon and you could see every detail on the Moon.

Then if you had a scope with a mirror half as big as the Moon and you only see down to half the details on the surface.

Resolution limits was explained to me this way.

All optics have an edge - this is usually the outer edge of a refractor or mirror.  Waveforms (such as light) diffract when they hit an edge.  These diffraction patterns of light propagate across the whole field of view, reducing the amount of fine detail that is visible.  The larger the aperture of the telescope, the lower the ratio of edge (circumference of the optics) to the area of glass (the undistorted light).   Thus the larger the aperture of the optics, the less the relative effect of diffraction on image quality, leading to higher resolution.

Atmospheric turbulence (seeing) and thermal currents inside a telescope tube also both distort incoming light, limiting the level of ultimate detail that can be observed.  therefore with anything less than very good seeing, using an aperture of greater than 8" to 10" is going to be pointless for visual observing.

Lunar imaging with very high frame rate cameras helps reduce some of the limitations imposed by atmospheric seeing.

Edited by michaelmorris
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