Category Archives: lunar

Total Lunar Eclipse – Sept 28th 2015

A way overdue gallery post, as I have finally managed to sort and post my images of the September 2015 Total Lunar Eclipse. The weather was excellent in Oxfordshire for this event which started at 01:11UT and finished at 06:22UT.

This eclipse occurred with the moon close to perigee, and appeared very dark to the naked eye. Our daughter (aged 5) even got up in the middle of the night to have a look through Daddy’s telescope at the moon and did this amazing drawing the next morning all by herself!

Abi's Amazing Lunar Eclipse Drawing

My image around maximum eclipse was used on the Oxford Mail website as the header image for the article on the event. The gallery below is a selection of images from all the ones I took – these were all taken using a Nikon D70s through a William Optics 110FLT. Exposures range from fractions of seconds for the partial phases, right up to 10 seconds for the images at maximum, which shows the range of brightness across the whole eclipse. My imaging finished at about 6am when the moon was occulted by the garden fence so I didn’t quite get the last stages of the eclipse (though I got an hour or so back in bed before work)!

Lunar Imaging Gallery – 16th May 2016

Some further lunar work – as before I worked using the ASI120MM in combination with a 2x Barlow lens and the 742nm near-IR filter through the 350mm Newtonian.

A productive evening, with six images of good quality in what was at times fairly good seeing – I would like to try running at a slightly higher scale (by using a different Barlow). i do have a 4x Imagemate, but I’m not sure the quality or the resultant focal length would work quite as well.

As it turned out, this was an evening where I bagged a few of the double ringed (concentric) craters on the moon, as well as some interesting Rille features and domes.

Images are as follows:

Clavius with Longomontanus, Scheiner and Blancanus – a good amount of detail in this image and I’m especially pleased with the detail within Rutherfurd (on the southern edge of Clavius). Street M is visible with a small concentric craterlet within.

Longomontanus and Clavius, 2016-05-16

Moretus, with some very good detail coming out of the wall and surrounds. The lunar south pole region (with Newton tucked just behind the hills) is to the bottom of the image.

Moretus, 2016-05-16

Copernicus – a classic lunar crater, and one where I’ve got a much better result than I’ve previously acheived. I particularly like the collapsed edge visible to the south – perhaps a little more scale might just let me sharpen up the detail within the crater a little… Also visible are the Hortensius domes (to the left in the image) lying just to the north of the crater of the same name – lunar domes are shield volcanoes which often have a small craterlet at the peak.

Copernicus, 2016-05-16


Rimae Hippalus and surrounds. So much going on in this region – bullialdus by itself is a nice looking crater, and nearby the complex rille structures of Rimae Hippalus cut across Hippalus and the surrounding regions, leading up to Agatharchides. The lunar dome Kies Pi is easily visible and concentric crater Marth in Palus Epidemarium is also present in the bottom right of the image.

Rimae Hippalus and Surrounds, 2016-05-17

Another busy nearby field, showing Pitatus, concentric craters Hesiodus A and Marth. Lots of rilles also visible, including Rimae Hippalus, Rimae Ramsden, Rima Hesiodus, rilles in Pitatus, and Rima Campanus cutting between Campanus and Mercator. Kies Pi is again obvious.

Mare Nubium and Palus Epidemiarus, 2016-05-16

A view north of Bullialdus including the interesting “rippled” texture between Darney and Euclides.

Bullialdus and Mare Nubium, 2016-05-16

The last two make a rather nice mosaic, though this was a quick job and I haven’t tried too hard to eliminate the edge of field noise, or the slight mismatch between levels.

Bullialdus Region - Mosaic

Lunar Imaging – 17th Mar 2016

I took the opportunity to do some further imaging of the Moon and Jupiter during a clear evening on the 17th March – as is common, the moon was high, and the transparency wasn’t great for any narrowband work, and as such it gave me an opportunity to work more on some high resolution work.

The seeing wasn’t great, and I took a different approach to imaging this time by using subframes on the ASI 120MM to get a high frame rate and allow large numbers of frames to be captured (thus increasing the chance of capturing good frames).

Images as below are of Clavius, Tycho, Rupes Recta (the Straight Wall) and Rima Birt, and Vallis Alpes (Alpine Valley) with the central rille (just!).

Clavius 2016-03-17, 20:02UT

Tych 2016-03-17, 20:27UT

Rupes Recta and Rima Birt 2016-03-17

Vallis Alpes 2016-03-17, 20:18UT

Conjunction – Moon and Jupiter

A very quick post of the conjunction tonight between the Moon and Jupiter. I find these types of conjunction notoriously hard to photo, especially close to full moon. This is mostly due to the wide field required and the difference in brightnesses between the two objects.

I’ve tweaked the curves a little within Photoshop to allow both objects to be displayed without blitzing out the lunar details – but the eye is much better at coping with these scenarios with its non-linear response and massive dynamic range!

The wider field of the Nikon lens for these photos shows just how good telescope optics are as well compared to “standard” DSLR lenses – there is a fair bit of blue fringing around the moon’s eastern limb, which isn’t particularly obvious in photos through the Takahashi FC60 or the William Optics FLT110.

Moon Jupiter Conjunction - 23rd Feb 2016

High Resolution Near IR Lunar Imaging – 22nd Jan 2016

We’ve had some poor weather this winter so far for astronomy, but we’ve had some clearer nights in the last week, but with the moon at a fairly full phase. So I’ve been working with the 14″ SPX350 in honing my high resolution lunar work a bit.

I had two fairly average sessions working with the ZWO camera in unfiltered mode, but suffered a lot from poor seeing (potentially due to thermals from houses I image over) especially with stacks coming out with “ghost craters”. However, for this run of images, I used an Astronomik ProPlanet 742 filter I have just purchased (this is a near IR filter passing wavelengths longer than 742nm).

This has given a very good set of results – with three images surpassing the resolution I’d previously been able to get – and working at a focal length around 3200mm too by using a Meade series 4000 barlow lens in front of the camera and filter (giving a resolution of about 0.24″/pixel). Previously, I’ve only got good results at prime focus.  From a first time using it, it certainly appears that this filter does help with larger apertures where seeing is not perfect. Images, while not totally unaffected by seeing, seemed a lot more stable in terms of high speed jitter or double vision on craters.

Images were taken around 98% illumination so all the images are from areas around the eastern limb of the moon – with limited targets available and with cloud rapidly rolling in, the session was somewhat curtailed!

Pythagoras:Pythagoras - 22/01/2016

Grimaldi, Hevelius, Cavalerius:

Grimaldi, Hevelius, Cavalerius - 22/01/2016

Phocylides, Nasmyth, Wargentin and Schickard:

Phocylides, Nasmyth, Wargentin, Schickard - 22/01/2016