Sunday, January 20, 2008

Moon Pictures

The nice thing about winter is really clear skies appear and the moon, planet, and stars seem exceptionally clear. The BAD thing about winter is it is REALLY COLD OUTSIDE!!! So I go out about 6-7 PM and see the moon with the planet Mars practically right next to it in the sky. Wow, this is a great opportunity to move the telescope out to look at it. So I do and it looks great except the telescope is about 40 degrees warmer than outside air so the images seem to shimmer. I decide well I will go run some errands and leave the telescope in the garage to cool off. Before I do that I set up the tripod with a Kodak digital camera with 3x zoom and 4 mega pixels and take a the picture with the moon and planet Mars labeled below. The moon seems to have saturated the image. Next time I will try the auto setting with a timer to take the shot.

Early morning I take the telescope outside and it is 12 degrees Fahrenheit with some wind at times. I get had to get the image capture software installed earlier and that took a while. After getting outside the CCD camera shows a big white blurry image so it is getting saturated. It takes some time but I finally get the image below which almost looks like a negative of what I was looking at. If you look on this blog, I posted some pictures I took at one time and that was about the last time I used the camera and telescope together successfully. I tried a number of times after that to image planets but the moon is about all I seem to get an image of.
Tonight I tried to capture Mars since it was so close to the moon but no luck.
The cold finally drove me indoors and my feet are in front of the heater now trying to get warmed up.

The two large moon pictures have been processed out of about 10 to 50 images I captured. The camera captured two sets of moon images. One for about 15 seconds and the other for about 50 seconds. The first was too dark or out of focus to get any good pictures.

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