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Full Moonlight?


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This will be my first night of nearly full moonlight viewing, if it does not cloud up before the store next door turns off its lights, and my question is, is it much more difficult with nearly full moonlight as opposed to a new moon?

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If you're trying to see anything but the moon then the full moon will cause you a lot of problems - but you've probably found that out by now? Sometimes I just give up when the full moon is out.

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there's are hundreds of objects that can still be seen when the moon is out but comets, nebulae and galaxies are badly affected. star clusters are usually not too bad, planets are fine and of course, there's the moon! try doing the Lunar 100.

that said, with an almost full moon and light pollution I managed to pick out the little dumbbell M76 for the first time last night.

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I've only had my scope a few weeks, so because it was the first clear night in ages last night, I decided to give it a go. I was rewared with my best views of Jupiter so far, the bands were nice and clear but no GRS. I think I saw Uranus, but because of the moonlight could not make out any colour and I even managed to find Andromeda. The most rewarding thing is that I'm finally starting to find my way around the sky. I had to give up at about 10.30, as everything was dripping in condensation.

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If you have a small offset hole in your tube cap - you can put the tube cap back on and remove the small offset cover. There's still enough light to view the full moon with a lot less discomfort to your eye - but a half or crescent moon is much more interesting cos of the shadows along the terminator creating a sense of depth :)

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The Moon's brightness increases very dramatically as it becomes full - far more than you'd expect simply from the increase of illuminated area - because of the "opposition effect" (light being reflected straight back towards Earth rather than at an angle off the Moon's surface). It's possible to view extended DSOs (galaxies and nebulae) with a partial Moon, especially if it's low in the sky, but around full Moon it's not worth the effort - better to look at planets, double stars etc.

To really appreciate the brightness of the Moon you need to get away from light pollution. I was setting up at my dark site at the weekend while the 70% illuminated Moon was setting, and its light on the trees beside me was as bright as from the headlamps of cars that occasionally swept from some way off down the road. I didn't need a torch while setting up. Once the Moon was down it was like somebody had pulled a switch - what a difference. I'd timed things so that I'd be ready to observe once the Moon was out of the way (around 1.30a.m.) and had a fantastic galaxy-viewing session until dawn. Won't be going there again until near the end of the month (weather permitting), when the waning Moon will be rising a decent time after the onset of full darkness, offering a good window for dark-sky observing.

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If you have a small offset hole in your tube cap - you can put the tube cap back on and remove the small offset cover. There's still enough light to view the full moon with a lot less discomfort to your eye :)

Another question answered !!! I wondered what that removable cap was there for :)

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I concentrate on double stars around full moon time. I think the moon may help reduce the glare of bright stars that might otherwise obscure close companions, however faint stars are less easy to see at this time, especially if there is a slight mist that is illuminated by the moon.

Alan

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