April 9, 2011
image by Jocelyn Sérot
Have you had a chance to observe yet this lunation? I did Wednesday night, when it was clear and warm, and the terminator was a little to the east of where it is in Jocelyn's image. I was trying out a 4.5" Orion Starblast telescope to see if we should recommend it for schools that want to participate in our MoonGazers after school activities. The telescope is cheap ($199) and has a dobsonian tabletop mount. My view was not quite as sharp as this but was dramatic with Crisium appearing as a giant smooth patch interrupting the more rugged terrain to either side. Cleomedes was visible as a smaller version of Crisium, suggesting that the two were the same kind of feature. With a simple map it would be easy for a beginner to identify Endymion, Langrenus, and the odd shaped Vendelinus. But the treat was Petavius, whose dark trench was just visible, but I don't think I would have noticed it if I didn't know it was there. I like the view with this small telescope - it would offer many opportunities for exploring the lunar surface for many months. And it is a great pick up and go scope for when threatening clouds, shortness of time, or just laziness preclude setting up a more capable instrument. But in fact, the Moon is captivating with almost any optical aid from opera glasses to Hubble Space Telescope.
Apr 7, 2011, 17h55 to 18h TU. Intes 6" MCT, prime focus, IR-pass filter, DMK 31. Processing: Registax V6 + Gimp. mosaic of 5 images.
Yesterday's LPOD: Stars & Moon
Tomorrow's LPOD: Sweet Rings