Bright gibbous Moon in a summer night

August 14, 2016

A big bright Moon illuminating the night sky, a good opportunity to make a photography of our natural satellite.

Summer Moon observation

First it’s been a long time I haven’t observed the Moon.

During this August night, the Moon was illuminated at 79%.

The powerful light was appealing, and in this summer period, with warm night temperatures, it was very tempting to take time to photograph our satellite.

The Moon was quite big, and to take relatively good pictures, appropriate gear is needed.

I was planning to use the Takahashi TOA 130 refrator telescope.

With 1000mm focal length, the Moon diameter fits perfectly on an APS-C sensor camera (in my case a Canon EOS 60D camera).

But carrying outside the whole setup take some times. I need to transport outside each part of the telescope separately, which means the mount, the three 5kg counterweights, the TOA 130, and then all the accessories.

That night, I was lazy.

So I decided to only use a vintage Celestron C8 Celestar Schmidt-Cassegrain. The whole system can be carried outside at once, great!

But, it was a mistake.

The Moon with 2000mm focal length

The Celestron C8 is a 200mm diameter telescope with a 2000mm focal length.

That’s a quite long focal length, and whereas it’s ok for a faint Moon crescent, up to first quarter, it isn’t for the full Moon.

With this focal length, the diameter of the Moon is too big for an APS-C sensor camera.

It simply means that the Moon doesn’t fit entirely on a frame, and also the Moon moves very very fast.

Nowadays telescopes have computerised Go-To mounts, but not this old C8, all manual.

And with lots of vibrations, manually focusing is not that easy.

To decrease a little the size of the Moon, I used a 0.8x focal length reducer. This one is designed for a special refractor telescope, but it works fine with the C8.

I turned the camera in a kinda portrait position, to place the Moon in a way that fits entirely on the frame.

Focus on some craters, and snap some shots, 141 to be precise!

At that point, I only hoped few frames would be good enough to work on…

Summer 2016 Moon

Some shots were not centered, but fortunately few stills were good enough.

The stills out the camera were not perfect, so I decided to only work on one file.

After a few editing stuff, the result is not too bad.

On the bottom, the main sharp big crater is “Tycho”. It was the zone on which I focused on.

Unfortunately the big “Copernicus” crater, on the upper zone, is mis-focused.

I think by moving/turning the camera, I may not have correctly fixed all the different tubes used to connect the camera to the telescope. The result may be as for a tilt-shift picture… Well this is a personal thought.

That’s it for today!

Moon photography

on 500px - on Flickr

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Behind Funky Porcupine is the photographic work created by Vincent mostly around nature subjects..

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