After a cloudy night, the sky cleared as dawn arrived on a late summer morning as seen from Bruneau Dunes State Park in southern Idaho on September 8, 2018. Here you see a very slender waning crescent Moon to the upper left of the star Regulus. Mercury is at the lower middle of this image, just above the clouds. Just minutes earlier, the constellation Orion tried to peak through the early-morning clouds (see below) [Read more…] about Dawn Sky – Crescent Moon, Mercury, Regulus, and OrionShare This:
The folks at NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, MD, have put together a glorious video of an accelerated sunrise and sunset on the Moon that will reward you with some of the finest images ever taken of our nearest neighbor, and perhaps inspire you to see some of these features with your own telescope. NASA set this visualization of sunrises and sunsets on the Moon to the strains of Claude Debussy’s most famous work, Clair de Lune. Watch the whole thing. It’s a great way to spend a few minutes.
From NASA’s notes [Read more…] about Lunar Sunrise, Lunar SunsetShare This:
Here’s a short video to brighten your day. The writer and film maker Wylie Overstreet took his big 12″ Newtonian telescope into the streets of Los Angeles to show the Moon to passersby. The result? Well, see for yourself. But it’s nice to know that so many overstimulated city dwellers can still enjoy nature at its finest.
You can see a thousand pictures of the Moon, but it’s never the same experience as seeing it for yourself, especially through a good telescope. Even if you don’t know the name of a single crater or sea, the Moon’s stark beauty, the etched features and long shadows and large range of gray scale and brightness, make it one of the most appealing and accessible sights in the sky. And as more experienced stargazers know, you can get the same experience when seeing much fainter objects. With a little practice, of course.
This fine little production is a great reminder that we should look up more often. And when possible, share what you see with those around you.
The last Sunday of northern winter in 2018 brought a clear and dry night for stargazing in the Washington, D.C. area. In this image, taken from The Plains, Virginia, shows a slender crescent Moon just 3% illuminated by the Sun’s light. The Moon is joined by the two inner planets Venus (brighter, at center) and Mercury (upper right). Mercury has just passed its greatest eastern elongation and will now begin quickly moving back toward the Sun. Venus moves in the opposite direction, more languorously, as it slowly gets higher and brighter in the coming weeks.
I looked out the window this morning and saw the Moon hanging clear and bright in a crisp and dry winter sky. So, of course, I had to take a picture!
Here you see the history of the ancient solar system etched like geological hieroglyphs into the face of our nearest celestial neighbor. The dark regions, the maria (or seas), are younger than the heavily cratered light-colored regions of the terrae (or highlands). The large dark region at the upper left is Oceanus Procellarum (the Ocean of Storms), which is capped by Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) to the north and Mare Nubium (Sea of Clouds) and Mare Humorum (Sea of Moisture) to the south. To the right in this image, closer to the shadow beyond the terminator, the line between night and day on the Moon, you can see the circular Mare Serenitatis (Sea of Serenity), below which is Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility). All these seas are lowlands flooded with lava after major meteor impacts some 3 billion years ago. The highlands are older and heavily peppered with craters from the days when the solar system was a more crowded and dangerous place.
You can see a few large craters here also. At the extreme western edge of the Moon (left in this image) you see the dark and worn crater Grimaldi. Copernicus, above and left of center, is a white bulls-eye bathed in full sunlight. Artistotle and Eudoxus are stacked on top of each other at the top, near the terminator. Theophilus is beautifully shadowed along the terminator just below center, while Maurolycus and Tycho grace the highlands to the south.
In this image, the Moon is nearly 5 days past full and 71% illuminated. The image was snapped by aiming a Nikon D750 camera out the window with a Nikon 200mm-500mm f/5.6 lens at 500mm, f/8, 1/2000s, ISO400. Cropped and lightly processed in Adobe Lightroom. Who says astrophotography has to be hard?Share This: