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Lunar Program for 90mm

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#1 JimK

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:09 PM

I have used "Discover the Moon" by Lacroux and Legrand to initially learn about lunar features and I now feel the need for more. Just picking an region and looking at the features identified in Rukl's "Atlas of the Moon" does not seem to interest me (I tried), and I'm not yet ready for the technical aspects of Wood's "Modern Moon." For some reason Wood's "Lunar 100" didn't interest me either (maybe at another time).

So I thought an observing program might work for me. I first thought of the Astronomical League (AL) Lunar Programs, then came across the Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and that seems to suit my interests. I will *not* be seeking the RASC certificate; I will only look for the objects. An earlier CN thread (click here) discussed this program.

I have a decent 90mm/3.5-inch Mak that I intend to use for this quest starting in 2014 (in the past I have used this telescope successfully for the AL Carbon Star program and for finding the brighter asteroids).

As to my questions for experienced lunar observers:

1) Has completing the RASC Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program (IWLOP) been of value?

2) Is the IWLOP suitable for my intended telescope, and are there any "pitfalls" regarding this choice? The IWLOP guide seems to say an 80mm telescope is okay for all but the challenge observations.

3) Are there other comparable options that I should consider?


Thanks in advance.

#2 Tom and Beth

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:55 PM

Quite possibly I'm a different observer than you, although I also don't go for "Certificates". This is a hobby, one driven by wonder and "discovery". I'm also in a home observatory with a computer. I use The Virtual Moon Atlas. On some nights, I link the mount to the program via Ascom, and as I scan over the surface of the Moon, what ever is centered in the EP is also centered in the program. "Ahhh, this crater is called XXX" and here's background information. After 6-7 years of using it, I still find it interesting.

Neither this atlas or any of the books hints at the extraordinary texture and patterns of the Ejecta from the larger craters such as Copernicus or Kepler.

#3 JimK

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:28 PM

I think you're right -- we are different observers.

I think that I enjoy the view of a beautiful sunset or the naked-eye Moon as much as the next person. But I have a small telescope and want more than just beautiful viewing.

If I went to an art gallery I would see some pretty paintings, but not much else because I haven't had any art technique or history training. If I went to many art museums, their presentations of artwork would eventually guide me to learn different things to look at in the artwork. And thus I would enjoy it more.

I have been guided to see a few things on the moon and wish to continue my education. Eventually I might be able to use Wood's "Modern Moon" and understand more of what I am seeing, and thus desire to explore more on my own. But for now I need something a little more advanced to continue to guide me.

For instance, I was just out for an hour with my telescope looking at the moon and looked at the region of the Carpathian Mountains. Based on the book "Discover the Moon" I looked for and found the Gay-Lussac Rille, which I certainly would have skipped otherwise. Then I noticed the shadows of 3 peaks just north of crater Gay-Lussac -- these remain unlabeled and un-described in any reference that I currently have, paper or computerized. So they are just like non-descript artwork to me, whereas the newly-found rille was interesting. And Rukl's "Atlas of the Moon" shows two craters on the floor of Archimedes ("S" and "T") yet my views revealed only a completely flat floor. Is my telescope not capable of viewing these craters, or was the seeing insufficient tonight? Dunno, hence another desire for a lunar guide.

I'm outside in my yard with 10F to 20F weather -- not the best environment for a laptop (and too cumbersome to arrange for, too). So I prefer to have just a notepad, and a (paper) reference or two at most when viewing, and learning.

#4 Rick Woods

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 12:41 AM

"Modern Moon" is actually written at a very popular level, while still giving you a good broad-view understanding of the Moon. It's very easy to read. Don't avoid it because you're thinking it will be dry or overly technical; it's neither.

#5 A6Q6

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 01:57 AM

Hi Jim, you may want to chick out These two groups : A.L.P.O, The Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers and The BAA, The British Astronomical association.

#6 JimK

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 03:00 PM

"Modern Moon" is actually written at a very popular level, while still giving you a good broad-view understanding of the Moon. It's very easy to read. Don't avoid it because you're thinking it will be dry or overly technical; it's neither.

I have had "Modern Moon" on my shelf for 10 years now, and it is in excellent condition. *To me* this book is like a text book, not a beginner or even intermediate observing guide. I have tried to read parts of it several times now, and each time it goes back on the shelf for "later" use. I am not just ready for it because I wish to be guided in finding and seeing more features first. I still have the book, but I do not agree with your recommendation. Everyone has their own opinion on enjoying this hobby, which is good.

#7 JimK

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 03:11 PM

Hi Jim, you may want to chick out These two groups : A.L.P.O, The Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers and The BAA, The British Astronomical association.

I could not find any observing programs in the lunar section of the ALPO -- maybe I was looking in the wrong section -- I just found monthly publications and a monograph section.

The BAA Lunar Section has a program focused on three topics: eight specific types of topographic features in summary format, a brief mention of transient phenomena, and a section on occultations still under development. I looked at this document previously and let it pass.

#8 azure1961p

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Posted 12 December 2013 - 09:32 PM

Jim - a suggestion - though indirect to what you ask: I highly highly recommend EPIC MOON by Sheehan and Dobbins. Historical accounts of mans observation and survey of the moon and all the tragic pitfalls along the way as well as the successes. In reading it I see well known features like Linne with a depth and appreciation that's directly a result of the excellence put fourth by the authors. Its a profound work.


Hope this helps though I kno its not what you were asking.

Pete

#9 Sarkikos

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:17 AM

That reminds me I need to order Epic Moon!

:grin:
Mike

#10 Michael Rapp

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 09:08 PM

That IWLOP looks like fun! I like how they have several required and challenge components for each object, rather than simply checking off "yep, I see the crater" like the AL club.

And I have never heard of the Pickering Unaided Eye Scale....I've got to try that!

#11 JimK

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 06:00 PM

This is just a followup post to my request for comments on the RASC Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program.

In looking at Luna on recent clear nights I have have completed a couple dozen of the items and I am pleased. This program is just the tool I needed to advance my abilities beyond the book "Discover the Moon" by Lacroux and Legrand. The listing has enough detail to assist my viewing of our Moon and I will continue my efforts to observe all of the features identified. I have even found many (but not all, so far) of the challenge observations.

Yes, I know some people dislike lists (and still others dislike books, or numbers, or whatever -- we are all different), but I have found the IWLOP guide to be very useful to me. Its listings encourage me to look at objects and detail that I probably would have missed on my own. Hundreds of people over the years have looked at the Moon and found interesting things. I don't believe that I would locate more than a tiny fraction of those things, hence my need for something to guide me along in my self-education of observing the Moon. I realize that there are many who will disregard anything and everything about this approach -- so be it -- but the program seems to be a worthwhile effort for me, and there might be a few others in the same situation. If so, then you have my recommendation on this program (whether or not you wish to pursue the associated certificate).

#12 OrdinaryLight

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Posted 11 January 2014 - 10:13 PM

I also downloaded and took a look through the IWLOP after seeing your post. I like that it includes some naked eye and binocular features as well as higher power targets. I'm planning on printing it out as I recently got a moon atlas and field map and this program will put them to good use. Thanks for bringing it up.

#13 JimK

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Posted 12 January 2014 - 01:52 PM

... Thanks for bringing it up.

You're quite welcome, and I hope you enjoy the adventure.

Just the other night when using the "list" I noted that the central peak of crater Timocharis had been obliterated by a well-placed smaller crater. On my own I would not have found this very small feature, and it is most likely identified in other references (such as in the book "Discover the Moon" on pg 84, a note that I had somehow missed earlier), but through this "program" I both learned of it and saw it first-hand.

So you, too, can be a lunatic and learn more of our satellite's features, and I hope the IWLOP will guide you along, as it is doing for me.

#14 uniondrone

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 01:30 PM

I recently completed the AL Lunar Program using my 90mm refractor. I enjoyed it a lot. Normally the moon would take no more than a few minutes of my time for some "Ooohs and Ahs", but then I would quickly move on to other things. The program gave me some objectives and forced me to pay attention to detail. I actually started enjoying lunar observing, instead of just cursing the effects of moon glow on my DSO viewing.

#15 LivingNDixie

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Posted 20 January 2014 - 03:48 PM

The AL Lunar II pin is a good program. Doing that program and learning about what you are observing while doing it (say reading Modern Moon by Wood), you will learn a lot about the science and geology of the Moon. When I do a program, no matter the subject (Moon, planets, carbon stars etc) I try to learn as much about the objects as observing them. Astronomy is a hobby that rewards the curious, and there is always something new to learn :)

#16 JimK

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 09:57 PM

This is just another follow-up to my current adventure of seeing the items described in the Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program (IWLOP) using a 90mm Mak telescope. At this point I have completed 80 of the 135 objectives, and have observed all sorts of lunar features that I normally would not have seen, or even bothered to look for. Sure, there are a few challenge objectives that I cannot see, such as the pits on several domes, or some of the very tiny craterlets within a crater, but I have seen many, many of the challenges and have thoroughly enjoyed the "hunt." A good lunar atlas is needed to work through this program, and I have also found the new book "Craters of the Near Side Moon" by John Moore to be of good value.

So if anyone is wonder about what they may wish to look at on our Moon after seeing craters Tycho and Copernicus, I suggest that you check into the IWLOP -- it is a free download in PDF format and you don't even have to submit anything/get the certificate. This program is more advanced than the 100-feature Astronomical League Lunar Program (which I have completed in a separate adventure).

#17 OrdinaryLight

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 10:26 AM

You're doing well, Jim. I've only gotten a few sessions in but have enjoyed the time spent with the program. Like you I have found that it prompts me to study features that I would not have spent as much time with on my own if I had noticed them at all. I'm also using a 90mm Mak for most of the program and finding it well suited but have enjoyed using both larger and smaller scopes as well.

#18 JimK

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 04:53 PM

At last -- I have completed my adventure of seeing the items described in the Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program (IWLOP) using a 90mm Mak telescope.  It took 9 months and I have seen the 135 objectives, including the vast majority of challenge objects (exceptions include tiny pits on several domes and very small craters Armstrong, Aldrin, and Collins).  If one enumerates the central peaks, terraced walls, shading differences (dark and bright), crater floor shapes, in addition to the craters, craterlets, and faults (rimae), the IWLOP covers about 1000 features to view.

 

I learned much in viewing these lunar objects, and the IWLOP listing/information is free as a PDF download at this link: http://www.rasc.ca/o...ing-certificate

 

I highly recommend observing the features in this program, whether or not you seek to obtain the certificate (I completed the observing list just to learn/have fun -- no certificate).


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