Tag Archives: Moon

Getting lucky: Capturing the Moon occulting Messier 23


Messier 23 (also known as NGC 6494) is an open cluster in the constellation Sagittarius. It was discovered by Charles Messier on June 20, 1764.

M23 is at a distance of about 2,150 light-years away from Earth, its radius is around 15-20 light years. There are some 150 identified members in this cluster, the brightest being of magnitude 9.2. M23 can be found with a modestly sized telescope in the rich starfields of the Sagittarius Milky Way.

The Moon (Latin: Luna) is the Earth’s only natural satellite. Although not the largest natural satellite in the Solar System, it is, among the satellites of major planets, the largest relative to the size of the object it orbits (its primary)  and, after Jupiter’s satelliteIo, it is the second most dense satellite among those whose densities are known.

Imaging telescopes or lenses: Meade DS2090 90mm

Mounts: Meade LX200 fork mount Meade LX200

Guiding telescopes or lenses: Meade LX200 10″ Classic Meade LX200 10″ f/6.3

Software: photoshop,  Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Lightroom 5

Date: Sept. 30, 2014

Time: 21:30

Focal length: 800

Seeing: 4

Transparency: 8

Author: Steve Rosenow

Astrophotography of the day of SPONLI, 15.10.2014

Super Moon vs. Micro Moon 

Image Credit & Copyright: Catalin Paduraru

What is so super about tomorrow’s supermoon? Tomorrow, a full moon will occur that appears slightly larger and brighter than usual. The reason is that the Moon’s fully illuminated phase occurs within a short time from perigee – when the Moon is its closest to the Earth in its elliptical orbit. Although the precise conditions that define a supermoon vary, given one definition, tomorrow’s will be the third supermoon of the year — and the third consecutive month that a supermoon occurs. One reason supermoons are popular is because they are so easy to see — just go outside and sunset and watch an impressive full moon rise! Since perigee actually occurs today, tonight’s sunset moonrise should also be impressive. Pictured above, a supermoon from 2012 is compared to a micromoon — when a full Moon occurs near the furthest part of the Moon’s orbit — so that it appears smaller and dimmer than usual. Given many definitions, at least one supermoon occurs each year, with the next being 2015 August 30.

APOD NASA 08-Sep-14

Full Moon Silhouettes 

Video Credit & Copyright: Mark Gee; Music: Tenderness (Dan Phillipson)

Have you ever watched the Moon rise? The slow rise of a nearly full moon over a clear horizon can be an impressive sight. One impressive moonrise was imaged in early 2013 over Mount Victoria Lookout in Wellington, New Zealand. With detailed planning, an industrious astrophotographer placed a camera about two kilometers away and pointed it across the lookout to where the Moon would surely soon be making its nightly debut. The above single shot sequence is unedited and shown in real time — it is not a time lapse. People on Mount Victoria Lookout can be seen in silhouette themselves admiring the dawn of Earth’s largest satellite. Seeing a moonrise yourself is not difficult: it happens every day, although only half the time at night. Each day the Moon rises about fifty minutes later than the previous day, with a full moon always rising at sunset. A good time to see a moonrise will occur at sunset on Tuesday as the Moon’s relative closeness to Earth during a full phase — called a supermoon — will cause it to appear slightly larger and brighter than usual.

APOD NASA 07-Sep-14

Surreal Moon 

Super Moon
Image Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light)

 Big, bright, and beautiful, a Full Moon near perigee, the closest point in its elliptical orbit around our fair planet, rose on August 10. This remarkable picture records the scene with a dreamlike quality from the east coast of the United States. The picture is actually a composite of 10 digital frames made with exposures from 1/500th second to 1 second long, preserving contrast and detail over a much wider than normal range of brightness. At a perigee distance of a mere 356,896 kilometers, August’s Full Moon was the closest, and so the largest and most super, of the three Full Moons nearest perigee in 2014 now popularly known as supermoons. But if you missed August’s super supermoon, the next not-quite-so supermoon will be September 8. Then, near the full lunar phase the Moon’s perigee will be a slightly more distant 358,387 kilometers. That’s only about 0.4 percent less super (farther and smaller) than the super supermoon.
APOD NASA 14-Aug-14

Alicante Beach Moonrise 


Image Credit & Copyright: José Carlos González

In this beach and skyscape from Alicante, Spain, July’s Full Moon shines in the dark blue twilight, its reflection coloring the Mediterranean waters. Near the horizon, the moonlight is reddened by its long path through the atmosphere, but this Full Moon was also near perigee, the closest point to Earth along the Moon’s elliptical orbit. That made it a Supermoon, a mighty 14% larger and 30% brighter than a Full Moon at apogee, the Moon’s farthest orbital swing. Of course, most warm summer nights are a good time to enjoy a family meal oceanside, but what fish do you catch on the night of a Supermoon? They must be Moon breams…

APOD NASA 19-Jul-14

The Moon Eclipses Saturn 

Image Credit & Copyright: Carlos Di Nallo

 What happened to half of Saturn? Nothing other than Earth’s Moon getting in the way. As pictured above on the far right, Saturn is partly eclipsed by a dark edge of a Moon itself only partly illuminated by the Sun. This year the orbits of the Moon and Saturn have led to an unusually high number of alignments of the ringed giant behind Earth’s largest satellite. Technically termed an occultation, the above image captured one suchphotogenic juxtaposition from Buenos Aires, Argentina that occurred early last week. Visible to the unaided eye but best viewed with binoculars, there are still four more eclipses of Saturn by our Moon left in 2014. The next one will be on August 4 and visible from Australia, while the one after will occur on August 31 and be visible from western Africa at night but simultaneously from much of eastern North America during the day.

NASA APOD 16-Jul-14

Lisbon Honey Moon 

Image Credit & Copyright: Miguel Claro

 The Sun set on Friday the 13th as a full Honey Moon rose, captured in this well-planned time-lapse sequence. Lisbon, Portugal’s Christ the King monument is in the foreground, about 6 kilometers distant from camera and telephoto lens. During the days surrounding today’s solstice (June 21, 10:51 UT) the Sun follows its highest arc through northern hemisphere skies as it travels along the ecliptic plane. At night the ecliptic plane is low, and the Full Moon’s path close to the ecliptic was also low, the rising Moon separating more slowly from the distant horizon. Northern moon watchers were likely to experience the mysterious Moon Illusion, the lunar orb appearing impossibly large while near the horizon. But the photo sequence shows the Moon’s apparent size did not not change at all. Its light was initially scattered by the long line-of-sight through the atmosphere though, and a deeper reddened color gave way to a paler gold as the Full Moon rose into the night.

NASA APOD 21-Jun-14

Red Moon, Green Beam

D140414_47_ApolloEclipse_AFCc_16f Image Credit & Copyright: Dan Long (Apache Point Observatory) – Courtesy: Tom Murphy (UC San Diego)
This is not a scene from a sci-fi special effects movie. The green beam of light and red lunar disk are real enough, captured in the early morning hours of April 15. Of course, the reddened lunar disk is easy to explain as the image was taken during this week’s total lunar eclipse. Immersed in shadow, the eclipsed Moon reflects the dimmed reddened light of all the sunsets and sunrises filtering around the edges of planet Earth, seen in silhouette from a lunar perspective. But the green beam of light really is a laser. Shot from the 3.5-meter telescope at Apache Point Observatory in southern New Mexico, the beam’s path is revealed as Earth’s atmosphere scatters some of the intense laser light. The laser’s target is the Apollo 15 retroreflector, left on the Moon by the astronauts in 1971. By determining the light travel time delay of the returning laser pulse, the experimental team from UC San Diego is able to measure the Earth-Moon distance to millimeter precision and provide a test of General Relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity. Conducting the lunar laser ranging experiment during a total eclipse uses the Earth like a cosmic light switch. With direct sunlight blocked, the reflector’s performance is improved over performance when illuminated by sunlight during a normal Full Moon, an effect fondly known as The Full Moon Curse. NASA APOD 18-Apr-14

Lunar Farside

Image Credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State Univ. / Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
Tidally locked in synchronous rotation, the Moon always presents its familiar nearside to denizens of planet Earth. From lunar orbit, the Moon’s farside can become familiar, though. In fact this sharp picture, a mosaic from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s wide angle camera, is centered on the lunar farside. Part of a global mosaic of over 15,000 images acquired between November 2009 and February 2011, the highest resolution version shows features at a scale of 100 meters per pixel. Surprisingly, the rough and battered surface of the farside looks very different from the nearside covered with smooth dark lunar maria. The likely explanation is that the farside crust is thicker, making it harder for molten material from the interior to flow to the surface and form the smooth maria.

NASA APOD 05-Apr-14

Apollo 17 VIP Site Anaglyph

Image Credit: Gene Cernan, Apollo 17, NASA; Anaglyph by Erik van Meijgaarden

Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo scene from Taurus-Littrow valley on the Moon! The color anaglyph features a detailed 3D view of Apollo 17’s Lunar Rover in the foreground — behind it lies the Lunar Module and distant lunar hills. Because the world was going to be able to watch the Lunar Module’s ascent stage liftoff via the rover’s TV camera, this parking place was also known as the VIP Site. In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. The crew returned with 110 kilograms of rock and soil samples, more than from any of the other lunar landing sites. Cernan and Schmitt are still the last to walk (or drive) on the Moon.

NASA APOD 15-Mar-2014