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First Quarter Moon, Earthshine

Posted: 18 February 2013

Although the sky was clear on Saturday, 16 February 2013, Cassiopeia Observatory was not opened. I attended a star party in Tucson that was sponsored by Astronomy magazine, International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA). At night, although I didn't take any of my telescopes, unexpectedly, I was able to operate one: a Meade 14" LX200GPS housed in an observatory at the college where the star party was held. See my report for photos and an explanation of why I was helping out with the 14".

The observatory was opened Sunday, 17 February 2013, at 1805 MST, 66°F. There were some clouds in the sky and there was a strong breeze blowing. At 1812 MST (sunset), I took this (cropped) photograph of Jupiter (left) and the First Quarter Moon (right), D7000 DSLR, f/11, 1/160sec, ISO 400, 105mm:


At 1816 MST, viewed Mercury, 77X and 222X. Its phase was very similar to the moon. I then viewed the moon, 222X. There were great views along the terminator using the 2" Explore Scientific 9mm (222X) 100° field-of-view eyepiece.

Switched the 8" LX200-ACF to a visual back and attached the D7000 DSLR at prime focus for this image of the First Quarter Moon taken at 1851 MST, 1/320sec, ISO 640:


By now, thin clouds were over much of the sky. At 1904 MST, captured this image (slightly cropped) of Earthshine on the First Quarter Moon, "Hat Trick", ISO 500:


Some lunar surface features are just visible in the image. Clouds and the bright sunlit portion of the moon made capturing Earthlight difficult.

I completed lunar imaging at 1907 MST, and viewed the moon briefly at 77X through thin clouds. Next, I took a look at Jupiter, 77X. The four Galilean Moons were visible. I then began closing up due to the clouds.

The observatory was closed at 1922 MST, 53°F.

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