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Posts Tagged ‘waning gibbous Moon’

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Above: 6:50 AM CDT 6-28-13 (11:50 UT)
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Above: The southern portion of the Moon, including Tycho and Clavius at 6:45 AM CDT.
Below: The northern portion of the Moon, including Plato and Mare Frigoris, 6:48 AM CDT.
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130x closeups with 2x Barlow, all (including 65x Moon photo) with 8″ homebuilt reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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Hello, folks, I’m happy to report that I still live on this planet!
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The Moon hangs peacefully in the southern sky this beautiful clear morning. 7:40 AM CDT (12:40 UT) April 2, 2013, 60mm refractor, 25mm eyepiece.

I’m now resuming my post series on Charles Woods’ “Lunar 100”. Number 4 on the list is the Lunar Apennine Mountains, or Montes Apenninus, which figure prominently in the lower central part of this photo, which I took on July 10, 2012, at 5:14 AM CDT (10:14 UT):
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8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow. Both with LG VX8360 cell phone camera.

Towards the north end of the Apennine range is Mons Hadley, notable because an adjacent valley was the Apollo 15 lunar landing site.

Happy Easter, and blessings to those who have recently celebrated Passover! This is what Easter is all about:

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It’s 2013, the Earth is still here (no, I’m not surprised), so is the Moon, and so am I! Time to begin another year of low-budget, high-enthusiasm cell phone astrophotography!
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Above: 7:52 AM CST January 3, 2013 (13:52 UT)
Below: 7:55 AM (13:55 UT), with 2x Barlow
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Below: 5:39 AM CST December 31, 2012 (11:39 UT)
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8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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I’m embarking upon a new astroblogging project of illustrating Charles A. Wood’s Lunar 100 list, which may be found at this link at skyandtelescope.com:

The Lunar 100, by Charles A. Wood

Mr. Wood says:

The Lunar 100 list is an attempt to provide Moon lovers with something akin to what deep-sky observers enjoy with the Messier catalog: a selection of telescopic sights to ignite interest and enhance understanding. Presented here is a selection of the Moon’s 100 most interesting regions, craters, basins, mountains, rilles, and domes. I challenge observers to find and observe them all and, more important, to consider what each feature tells us about lunar and Earth history.

It looks like an interesting challenge, and one that can keep me going with astroblogging even on cloudy days like today! Number One on the list is simply the Moon itself, and here’s a re-posting of one of my favorite photos, of the waning gibbous Moon, just past full, getting ready to set last February:


7:31 AM CST February 9, 2012 (13:31 UT), 60mm refractor telescope and 25mm eyepiece. Click for larger view.

There’s a story to tell with this photo: I think I popped awake at about 7:20 AM, and when I peeked out the door, I saw that a beautiful Moon scene was taking shape. But then I heard our dog Pluto (now of blessed memory) jingle his collar, and I realized that I just couldn’t sneak out to the big telescope without attending to Pluto’s needs! But the Moon was setting within minutes, so I put Pluto on his deck chain, pulled out the small refractor, and snapped a few photos on the fly before taking Pluto for his walk. This photo is the best from that morning; the golden hue at moonset comes from the Moon’s light (reflected sunlight, of course) travelling through hundreds of miles of the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Watch for a dazzling planet-star conjunction tomorrow morning, as Venus and the star Regulus will appear only 0.2 degrees from each other on the early morning of October 3, as viewed from North America. Already this morning they were close enough together to appear within one view at 28x magnification. Here they are at 7:13 this morning (12:13 UT), with 60mm refractor telescope and 25mm eyepiece, brilliant, gibbous Venus at the upper left:


To give you an idea how close this is, here’s the Moon at the same magnification at 7:27 AM, using the same equipment:

Once again the Moon is waning, my favorite time of the lunation, as I do most of my astronomy before dawn. The splendor of the starry and “planety” night giving way to the bright dawn is something I never grow tired of, and the cheerfully chirping birds agree. It’s like being in on a secret.


Above: The still-fullish gibbous Moon beginning to wane at 6:32 AM CDT 9-30-12 (11:32 UT).
Below: 7:24 AM CDT 10-2-12 (12:24 UT). Both with 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece.

Before dawn on Sunday, Europa and Callisto appeared to be hugging close to Jupiter:


6:52 AM 9-30-12 (11:52 UT). Left to Right: Ganymede, Europa, Jupiter, Callisto, Io.
8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, 2x Barlow.
All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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Tomorrow Jupiter and the Last Quarter Moon will form a striking conjunction. How close, you may ask? Here’s an illustration via NASA/JPL’s Solar System Simulator, one of my favorite online utilities. This is the Moon and Jupiter as viewed from Earth at 11:00 Universal Time on September 8, 2012, which, for example, will be 6:00 AM local time here in North America’s Central Time Zone:

Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

Here’s the Moon slowly approaching Jupiter at 6:22 AM on September 6:

So far this month I’ve managed to photograph the Moon every morning! I don’t expect the streak to be unbroken, but I’ll do my best. Here’s the Waning gibbous Moon progressing through its phases this past week:

5:04 AM CDT September 1, 2012 (10:04 UT)


5:40 AM CDT September 2, 2012 (10:40 UT)


6:51 AM CDT September 3, 2012 (11:51 UT)


6:08 AM CDT September 4, 2012 (11:08 UT)


9:05 AM CDT September 5, 2012 (14:05 UT)


6:05 AM CDT September 6, 2012 (11:05 UT)


7:00 AM CDT September 7, 2012 (12:00 UT)

All with 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece, LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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It certainly wasn’t the first spacecraft landing on Mars. Indeed, I vividly recall being glued to the TV as Viking 1 landed on Mars, thirty-six years ago. I was eleven. But the Curiosity landing definitely is the biggest Mars landing ever, in more ways than one. Here’s a skyandtelescope.com article. I especially enjoy the photo of Curiosity taken from 200 miles away by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter:

Touchdown! Curiosity Lands in Gale Crater

To celebrate, I’m rerunning arguably my two best Mars photos, though you’ll see why I don’t post many Martian photos. My low-budget cell phone astrophotography doesn’t show much of Mars except that it’s round and perhaps slightly reddish. Jupiter with its planet-sized moons, Saturn’s rings, and Venus’ phases show up much better with my pocket camera. But, here goes:

Mars at 7:38 AM CST January 28, 2012 (13:38 UT), 8″ reflector telescope, 25mm eyepiece with 2x Barlow.

Perhaps more interesting in a way is this photo from August last year, Mars and the Moon in conjunction:

Here’s the Moon the last three mornings, all with 8″ reflector telescope and 25mm eyepiece:


5:31 AM CDT August 5, 2012 (10:31 UT)


6:11 AM CDT August 6, 2012 (11:11 UT)


6:05 AM CDT August 7, 2012 (11:05 UT)

All with LG VX8360 cell phone camera. Click to enlarge.

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