Clearing skies approaching sunset held the promise of Venus and Mercury, as well as a young crescent moon. 19:15 pm went out to front of house armed with 7×50 binoculars, Young crescent moon, with earthshine visible at about 30 deg in the WSW, Venus also visible with naked eye ,near enough W and low down at 5 deg , grazing the chimney pots and playing hide and seek through low cloud bank to the west. No sign of mercury visually, but with binoculars could be located a couple of degrees to right and above Venus, even when I knew where it was , still couldn’t discern it visually, 5 mins later cloud bank hid Venus visually, could still pick it out with binoculars and mercury was getting lost in a bank of higher wispy cloud.
Worth looking out for if clear at sunset.
I decided the best way to proceed with recording my observations of the moon was to make a special observing log just for the moon, and organise it according to the days of the month. This way I can keep a track of exactly what’s visible when. Before I carry on, I just wondered if anyone would like to suggest a few more features to try and find. More specifically, what’s the best example of a ghost crater and lava dome?
(Day one is new moon)
Day 8 – exactly on first quarter
Got a good view of the Alpine Valley (the largest valley on the moon). It was quite close to the terminator and appeared as a dark wide line. Cloud prevented any more observations.
Day 9 – one day after first quarter
I have decided this is probably the best day of the month to view the moon. Moving from top to bottom, I got a good view of the Alpine Valley. Also a good view of Montes Apenninus, one of the best mountain ranges on the moon – the line of mountains ended just short of the terminator. Further down, the Straight wall (the largest fault line) was as clear as the nose on your face. Decided that 250x magnification definitely showed more detail than 155. The Alpine Valley has a serrated edge on the side furthest away from the terminator.
Day 10 Found the Straight Wall. It’s in the middle of a ghost crater, but it’s barely visible.
Day 11 Observing the moon with Harry. I couldn’t see the straight wall.
I found two lava domes, Gamma and Delta, near the crater Gruithuisen. (Just a little down from the Bay of Rainbows.) The 13mm eyepiece worked well, but the 8mm was even better, so maybe about 200x is best for these small features on the moon. Close by I also found a lava channel on the Aristarchus Plateau. It was white with a few sharp turns. I’m not sure if this is classed as a sinuous rille.
Can’t find the Cordillera Mountains, so this will not go on the list of good objects to find.
3 days after full moon and 3 days before first quarter
Found the alpine Valley, just above and to the right of the Sea of Rains. It’s in the middle of a narrow triangle formed by three prominent craters – Plato, Mitchell and Eudoxus. Even though the terminator was a considerable distance away, it was still visible, but only just. Must try when the terminator is closer for a better view.
Took a yomp over the fields on monday morning to get a clear eastern horizon just after 6 am, as I was setting up Venus was rising through the early morning glow a scintillating red spot light. All images taken Canon 450D on tripod with cable shutter release. All shot in raw and processed in P.S.6
Having taken images , quick dash back home to get off to London, hence delay in processing!
First image 18-250mm Sigma at 87mm ISO1600, F22, 1″
2nd image 180-500mm sigma at 500mm ISO1600, F22, 0.25″
3rd image same lens as image 2, at 180mm, ISO100, F22, 2″
Moon 180-500mm Sigma , at 500mm ISO100, F22, 0.1″
17:05 Moon rise over azimuth of approx 60 deg.
Another moon at “Perigee”
All images taken with Canon 450D with Sigma 150 -500 mm Zoom lens, mounted on tripod with remote shutter release and mirror lock up.
Click on images for full size.
150mm,4″ F6.3 ISO1600
150mm,2.5″, F22, ISO1600
150mm, 4″, F22, ISO1600
500mm, 1/50″, F29, ISO1600
500mm, 1/125″, F29, ISO1600
Venus was very prominent in the \Southern sky before sunset and as the2Peri” moon rose was framed in the branches of the tree behind me.
150mm, 5″, F22, ISO 1600.
Took these shots between 17:00 and 18:00 as the moon was rising over Burton on Trent, amazing how much dew had formed on the camera and lens body in that time, luckily none on lens!
The bright moon does not bode well for Geminid spotting and by dawn cloud will be covering the sky, which is unfortunate as the radar echoes being picked up increased dramatically over the 13th Dec and the log file for the 14th was also heading the same way, will post the activity profile at end of week.