Moon Mosaic

June 26 2010

Tonight the aim is to observe the moon and take some shots with my DSLR at prime focus. About 10:30 I take my kit outside and set up and polar align and let the scope cool.
About 11:30 I head outside and unfortunately when the scope is set up the moon is obscured by the rear of the annex. I therefore have to wait for moon to clear the roof before I can observe and shoot. Whilst waiting I turn my scope to my favourite, Saturn for a quick view. At 9mm (133x mag) I can clearly see Saturn and 3 moons (Titan, Enceladus and Rhea) I decide to give my Revelation filters a go to see if any further detail can be resolved. With a number 47 Violet filter the rings are supposed to be revealed in better detail. At 9mm with barlow (267x mag) the rings appear extended giving a more discernible proportion akin to the photographs seen in magazine. It is, however, difficult to comfortably view as Saturn takes on a violet complexion.
After viewing Saturn I decide to give Mars a go. At 9mm (133x mag) I can make out a red blob an the polar cap however it is very difficult to focus and see and discernible detail.
At this time the moon has just about risen above the annex roof so I swing the scope over to begin to observe and shoot the moon at about 00:00 (Midnight)
At 32mm (38x mag) the full moon is easily observed. Its very bright so I place the scope cover on with the small aperture cap removed to reduce the aperture of the scope and therefore the brightness of the moon to a more comfortable level.
I work my way up to 9mm and 2x barlow (267x mag) and have a look around the moon. After observing I set up the camera with barlow and begin to take a set of 10 images to form a mosaic. The camera is set at ISO400 1/200th s. The effective focal length is 2400mm.
I did initially want to use my MPCC but prime focus could not be achieved and despite various combinations of spacers etc I could not see a way to get prime focus or allow my 1.25” barlow to be connected. Time to consult the manual and fiddle about with this during the day.

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