January 29, 2014

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Moon Map Light Box

image by Mike McCabe

A couple of years ago, Maurice Collins very generously shared an image that he created using LRO data. He took the LRO nearside mosaic and combined it with the LRO shaded relief topographical data, then added hundreds of labels, creating an amazing map of the moon. I knew as soon as I saw that I would eventually put it to work at the telescope. Well, I finally got around to putting something together. I gave the file to a friend in the graphics business and he printed the image on adhesive-backed vinyl. I let him choose the size that he thought would work best and it wound up being 21" x 21". From there I’ve constructed a lightbox that illuminates the image from behind. I’m very happy with the final outcome. It’s a joy to use at the telescope and I can’t wait to bring it to an outreach, where I’m sure the guests will be just as thrilled. The image depicts the 8 steps involved in constructing the Moon map lightbox.

A: The image mounted on a piece of Lexan clear plastic.
B: A strip of 1x3 pine run through the table saw and mitered for the box sides.
C: These handy-dandy clamps help us non-cabinet-makers make square corners.
D: Screwing and gluing the corners.
E: A simple sheet of thin plywood closes the back.
F: Some wire, a few sockets and bulbs from a discarded automobile, and some simple brackets make up the lighting system.
G: White inside, black outside and a leg to stand on and she’s coming together.
H: Ready to get to work. The completed Moon map lightbox, the Astronomical League Lunar Program target list, binos, a scope and some eyepieces.

Mike McCabe
CAW Note: The thin red refractor is an old Tasco department store 50mm refractor, tricked out with a new objective lens, eyepieces and dobsonian mount!

Yesterday's LPOD: What is That Bright Star?

Tomorrow's LPOD: Ships Passing in the Daytime


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