Imaging the Moon
Just like solarsystem imaging, most of the fine detail in the images on this page are aquired by stacking AVI-files into one picture. The best overview of the moon is being produced by imaging the whole disk. This way the different phases of the moon and details on the terminator (boundary where day turns into night and v.v.) are viewed best. This image on the left, photographed on april 19th 2007, shows the moon just two days after New Moon. I used my Canon 400D to shoot 50 seperate frames. These frames were stacked by a program called Registax. After stacking and schapening, the image was touched up in Photoshop. This way a general view of the moon in high detail is obtained. As the days progresses the fases of the moon alter. In the sequence below you’ll see these different fases while the moons crosses the sky and makes its way to full moon. When the dark side of the moon is exposed longer, it becomes visible due to “earthshine”. Light reflected of the bright earth clouds, will fall onto the moon and illuminates this dark side.
After full moon, the terminator becomes visible again the moon will turn into a waning cresent. A cool animation can be viewed here (still have to make one of my own – lol).
To image the moon in higher detail, a different technique is used. I converted my Philips SPC900 webcam so I could use it as a moon and planetary imager. The front lens of the webcam was removed and an extension tube was placed so the webcam would fit perfectly into the telescope. By “filming” the moon several thousands of images were obained (filming is like putting lots of images in a sequence and view them at a frame rate of say 30 frames per second). The obtained AVI-files were fed into Registax. This program filters out fine details en reduces noise in the final picture. This way very smaal detail on the surface of the moon, are becoming visible.
By using a special camera to image sun, moon and the planets even smaller details can be captured. For this purpouse I bought a The Image Souce DMK 21AU04.AS. This camera is very fast, produces little noise and is able to capture very fine detail. The image on the right was taken on februari 1st 2012. It shows Rupes Recta (middel). Rupes Recta is a linear fault, or rille, on the Moon, in the southeastern part of the Mare Nubium. The name is Latin for “Straight Fault”, although it is more commonly called the Straight Wall. This is the most well-known escarpment on the Moon.
The fault has a length of 110 km, a typical width of 2–3 km, and a height of 240–300 m. Thus although it appears to be a vertical cliff in the lunar surface, in actuality the grade of the slope is relatively shallow. To the west of this escarpment is the crater Birt, which is about 17 km in diameter. Also to the west is the Rima Birt rille.
Even more beautiful results can be achieve stitching multiple high resolution images into one picture. The amount of details are overwhelming. The image on the left consists of 12 individual frames and is showing a portion of the southern hemisphere of the moon. This area had the most and the deepest craters on the surface of the moon. The deepest crater is Newton crater. It has a dept of 6.1 kilometers. It lies just outside this picture, to the north. Crater Tycho, up en left from the centre is 15 km wide and has a depth of 4.8 kilometers. The central peak rises 1.6 km above the crater floor. This crater is shining very brightly and can been seen with the naked eye. Also notice the rays of fresh materials, covering a large portion of the moons surface. Also notice crater Clavius (at the top, just left from the centre). This crater, with lots of other craters formed in it. With its size of 225 km accross, it is one of the largest craters on the moon.
To identify structures on the moon, it is always fun to take a moon picture and superimpose the names of mountains, maria, craters, rilles etcetera on it. The picture on the right is showing the southern part of the moon. It has less craters then the southern region and is dominated by maria and moutain ranges. On the internet lots of lunar maps are available to identy your images. I usualy use an app on my Ipad called MoonGlobeHD. This app is very usefull to find out what the phase of the moon is on a given date and what features are visible at that moment.
To tour the moon from up close please watch this wonderful NASA tour of the moon video.