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Small bore challenge: the Moon w/ 6" or less

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#1 BKBrown

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Posted 05 May 2015 - 10:01 PM

Small bore imaging seems to have a growing following here, I am gratified that so many folks are participating and sharing their results with 6" or less of aperture. With Jupiter on the wane and JasonB's thread encouraging folks with Saturn near opposition, I want to open another small bore venue. Over on the Jupiter small bore thread TrevorN recently broached the idea of a lunar thread with the same parameters; something I have been contemplating for rather a long time...his suggestion got me off my seat and working. Saturn is already a very difficult target for northern hemisphere imagers, and we only have one more good Jupiter apparition before it sinks lower in our skies. The Moon, on the other hand, is always available for everyone and is perhaps the perfect small bore imaging target. While easily accessible and chock full of cool detail, Luna is much trickier to shoot well than folks might think; for instance the terrific dynamic range can make getting first rate images tricky, especially near the terminator. So how about we stick with the same 6" of aperture or less rule, any kind of camera, and share what we have learned about lunar imaging; I'll start off with some examples and open the discussion...

 

Back in the summer of 2010, 4th of July evening in fact, I was becoming mighty frustrated trying to tweak the collimation on the the still new-to-me C925 XLT I had recently purchased used. It was a great instrument but I needed a break! The air was dead calm that night in the heavy, hazy southern way so I put the SCT up and broke out my SW100ED Pro for some less complicated imaging entertainment. At the time I was still using what I consider to this day to be the worst planetary camera I have ever owned, the Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager and Auto-Guider or SSPIAAG, a camera with but one virtue in my book: it could take pretty decent images of really bright objects like the Moon. So I broke it out and over the next few hours had something of an epiphany: shooting with small aperture and minimal gear could be both fun and provide very satisfying results. Below are several images I acquired that night, and though I ditched that camera not long afterward, the SSPIAAG really opened my eyes to the world of lunar small bore imaging :smile:

 

Rupes Recta (the Great Wall) and Thebit:

L07042010_f2_Rupes recta and Thebit copy.jpg

 

Deslandres:

L07042010_g_Deslandres_Pitatus_001 copy.jpg

 

Copernicus:

L07042010_h_001c_Copernicus copy.jpg

 

I was surprised at the time by the quantity of very subtle detail captured in these images, and while I have captured many, many more (and better) lunar images since; I remember the shots from this night especially fondly. So what would you like to share as we we get this thread under way?

 

Clear Skies,

Brian :snoopy:


Edited by BKBrown, 05 May 2015 - 10:20 PM.

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#2 StrangeDejavu

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 12:11 AM

Like you, I remember my first night of imaging very fondly. Racing from target to target, crater to crater made me feel like this little guy:  :whee: . I've found that setting the correct exposure on a planet is easy enough, but it's a different ball game on the lunar surface. It's very easy to overexpose those peaks in that crater you're aiming for. In my experience, low histogram is the way to go since you can manually brighten the image later, but can't take away a blinding white crater. :)

These are some of the first images I took with my first camera, the NexImage 5. These first three were taken with a SW120ED on a CG-4 with tracking motors.

Eratosthenes & Montes Apenninus:

kTHEK8c.png

Copernicus:

d83fb36e550f6b907df909ac6a97e61e.1824x0_

Mare Crisium:

91ed356ae081c3656d7bbb58e8f599d8.1824x0_

And this one was taken with the same setup above, only I used the ST-80 for a full frame shot.
 

G5SUephl.png


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#3 fawien

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 12:33 AM

I have a whole series of these, all taken with just a SX520 point and shoot camera. This one was my first full moon, 3 frames stacked and gimp for final edits. My first attempts at lunar photography. 

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#4 gfeulner

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 01:01 AM

This is going to be a great thread Brian. Your images are great. I'll have to set up my ES102 and SW120 and see what I can come up with. Gerry


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#5 gfeulner

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 01:04 AM

Like you, I remember my first night of imaging very fondly. Racing from target to target, crater to crater made me feel like this little guy:  :whee: . I've found that setting the correct exposure on a planet is easy enough, but it's a different ball game on the lunar surface. It's very easy to overexpose those peaks in that crater you're aiming for. In my experience, low histogram is the way to go since you can manually brighten the image later, but can't take away a blinding white crater. :)

These are some of the first images I took with my first camera, the NexImage 5. These first three were taken with a SW120ED on a CG-4 with tracking motors.

Eratosthenes & Montes Apenninus:

kTHEK8c.png

Copernicus:

d83fb36e550f6b907df909ac6a97e61e.1824x0_

Mare Crisium:

91ed356ae081c3656d7bbb58e8f599d8.1824x0_

And this one was taken with the same setup above, only I used the ST-80 for a full frame shot.
 

G5SUephl.png

Excellent images Mitch. Can't wait to take some images of my own with my 102 and 120 refractors.


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#6 Bomber Bob

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 04:34 AM

Monolux 4380 (Hiyoshi 60x910), Orion SSII at prime focus from March 2014:

 

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  • M4380 - Moon 20140309 C12G.jpg

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#7 Hesiod

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 04:43 AM

I do quite a lot pics with my 4" because I keep them as "observation log" (tried with drawings but these were really horrible).

 

http://astrob.in/153731/B/

http://astrob.in/153638/D/

 

My main challenge is to get a good pic of Plato/Vallis area, but I have not managed to be successful so far


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#8 bill44026

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 06:54 AM

Here are lunar pictures be taken with my 6" reflector. I enjoy catching features on lunar surface as challenge but more importantly such reflector can be controlled easily.

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  • 4873176271891614611.jpg

Edited by bill44026, 06 May 2015 - 07:00 AM.

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#9 easybob95

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 06:54 AM

Hello, a have a lot of Moon pictures, so i will post some of them sometimes.

 

The setup is SCT 6" + barlow 2x (or somtimes 1.5x) and qhy5l-iic.

 

All (most of all) the images are downscaled.

 

My best Copernic ans Erathostène :

 

f1e15da16bb65a7853a80af71c7f6f68.620x0_q

 

And the Copernic region with true colors of the Moon (enhanced colors, of course) :

 

587aa2a495343cc5cba57a0c9c74200a.620x0_q

 

I'll be back soon.

 

Clear skies.

 

Alain


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#10 SteelStar

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 08:16 PM

Apennine Mts. shot with IPhone6 through Lunt 152ED. 1min. video at 60fps. Stacked with RegiStax6.

 

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  • Apennine Mts. RegiStax (640x360).jpg

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#11 ToxMan

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 08:54 PM

I like the idea, Brian, of small bore challenges. A couple years ago, I did a mosaic using DMK31, infrared pass filter on my little Apex Mak Cass 90mm. Here is a link to image of 4 day old waxing crescent in infrared. To see full resolution, click on icon "full resolution." Thanks. Paul

 

http://www.astrobin.com/full/27666/0/


Edited by ToxMan, 06 May 2015 - 08:56 PM.

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#12 evan9162

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 10:19 PM

I have a ton of moon images.  Here are my most significant...

 

These are taken with my C6 SCT and Canon T4i DSLR

 

Vallis Alpes and Montes Alpes

get.jpg

 

Full disk

get.jpg

 

First attempt at a mosaic

get.jpg


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#13 james7ca

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 11:18 PM

Shot with a Tele Vue NP127is with a 2X Astro-Physics barlow using a Sony NEX-5N camera (still mode) on July 16, 2013 (this is a big image and you need to zoom to see all of the detail).

 

Some really great shots have been posted here. However, for lunar imaging at 5" and below I prefer doing full-disk images that can be framed quite nicely on an APS-C camera. In fact,  up until quite recently I never used a "planetary" video camera for lunar work (always used my Sony NEX cameras in still mode).

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  • Waxing Gibbous Moon with NP127is.jpg

Edited by james7ca, 06 May 2015 - 11:34 PM.

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#14 gfeulner

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Posted 06 May 2015 - 11:22 PM

Shot with a Tele Vue NP127is with a 2X Powermate using a Sony NEX-5N camera (still mode) on July 16, 2013 (this is a big image and you need to zoom to see all of the detail).

 

Some really great shots have been posted here. However, for lunar imaging at 5" and below I prefer doing full-disk images that can be framed quite nicely on an APS-C camera. In fact,  up until quite recently I never used a "planetary" video camera for lunar work (always used my  Sony NEX cameras in still mode).

WOW!! Excellent detail. Well done! Gerry



#15 easybob95

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 01:33 AM

Hello,

 

here is a full Moon with enhanced colors to show geology and soils composition. Taken with SCT 6" and Sony A6000.

 

b40781d28c26089e5ddac407dc722770.620x0_q

 

Back to the QHY5L-IIc camera, Ptolemee region :

 

76f25c923fd89cd72a1b5c76a4470940.620x0_q

 

And a big mosaic :

 

f092239d1fd77de898283167e4757cdb.1824x0_


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#16 JMP

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 11:28 AM

That's an impressive mosaic, Easybob!



#17 JMP

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 11:34 AM

Here's a nice view of Clavius with a C6 SCT, an original Neximage, and a 2x barlow.

 

Jeff Phillips

Eugene, Oregon

 

C6-clavius-dV5psp.jpg


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#18 easybob95

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 02:34 PM

That's an impressive mosaic, Easybob!

 

Thanks JMP



#19 Trevor N

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Posted 07 May 2015 - 04:09 PM

Well done Brian. Lots of good images already. I agree that the moon is more difficult to image than appears. Contrast is so great. I also capture at a low level and push the image in processing. It can increase noise though. Look forward to seeing this thread develop. These two images were taken through a SW ed100 using an imaging source dmk.Trevor

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  • Theo-Frac-area-ed100-x3-barlow.jpg
  • clavius-ed100.jpg

Edited by Trevor N, 07 May 2015 - 04:38 PM.

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#20 BKBrown

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 07:12 PM

Wow! We are off to a great start on this thread. Clearly folks are doing some terrific work with both color and mono cams...very interesting  color work. One of the things that is being driven home is that the Moon is really quite a dark object. It only reflects about 7% of the sunlight that hits it, if it weren't so gloomy gray/brown it would be even more intense. Fortunately for us it's not! As a rule I like to capture that dark feeling while accentuating things like ray structures from crater ejecta; do it right and it makes for a very dramatic shot. To help mitigate the contrast and dynamic range issues I generally use filters of some sort. I am curious about how many of us with mono cams use color vice UV/IR filters when we shoot? I typically use either an Astrodon IIc red (sometimes green) or Baader red pass filter. Definitely seems to improve the image quality to a noticeable degree. My first set of images with the SSPIAAG used a UV/IR cut filter, the images below were taken with my TEC 140, TIS DMK21AU16 cameras, and an Astrodon IIc red filter.

 

Nine Day Moon, an 11 panel mosaic scaled way down:

9 Day Moon 11-05-09 20-54-55_sc.jpg

 

Copernicus:

Lunar0003 11-06-10 22-06-07_003 copy2.jpg

 

Do you do anything to change the image values and mitigate contrast DR issues?

 

Clear Skies,

Brian :snoopy:

 

 


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#21 BKBrown

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 07:18 PM

Like you, I remember my first night of imaging very fondly. Racing from target to target, crater to crater made me feel like this little guy:  :whee: . I've found that setting the correct exposure on a planet is easy enough, but it's a different ball game on the lunar surface. It's very easy to overexpose those peaks in that crater you're aiming for. In my experience, low histogram is the way to go since you can manually brighten the image later, but can't take away a blinding white crater. :)

These are some of the first images I took with my first camera, the NexImage 5. These first three were taken with a SW120ED on a CG-4 with tracking motors.

Eratosthenes & Montes Apenninus:

kTHEK8c.png

Copernicus:

d83fb36e550f6b907df909ac6a97e61e.1824x0_

Mare Crisium:

91ed356ae081c3656d7bbb58e8f599d8.1824x0_

And this one was taken with the same setup above, only I used the ST-80 for a full frame shot.
 

G5SUephl.png

 

Very cool Mitch, I particularly like Mare Crisium on the terminator :waytogo: I can only image it well after full moon because it is too low to get early in the lunation from my location...

 

Clear Skies,

Brian :snoopy:


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#22 BKBrown

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 08:02 PM

I am overwhelmed at the group response and quality of small bore lunar images everyone is sharing. The Moon is the perfect target for smaller scopes, and it is technically challenging enough to keep even experienced planetary imagers climbing the learning curve...now back to our regularly scheduled program:

 

Fawien – very nice full moon study, what do you think of GIMP for post processing?

JW – nice and sharp, huge dynamic range challenges in that shot

Alberto – great ray study of Copernicus and I think your full Moon does a great job of demonstrating the dark nature of the target  :smile:

Bill44026 – superb mosaics! Razor sharp detail and the images really capture the characteristic darkness

Alain – Copernicus is my favorite lunar target and these are two very fine studies, the first is very moody while the color overview really catches the interlocking ray structures…well done  And as good as your first set was, the second was even better; great mosaic work, very cool color :waytogo:

SteelStar – it still amazes me what we can do nowadays with a cell phone camera; you’ve got a terrific close up image of the Appenines that no one with a film camera could have hoped to get back in the day

Toxman – that is a very cool, very moody early crescent Paul. I love the feel…

Evan9162 - Very nice set Darin, and I like that you even caught the Vallis Alpes rille. What app are you using to build your mosaics? :hmm:

James7a – That’s a cracking good color shot! People you have to look at the enlargement, it will take your breath away :bow:  DSLRs can crank out some awesome lunar portrait shots…this is definitely one of them. Most of us are accustomed to using video cams for lunar and planetary work, but this image serves to illustrate that they are clearly not the only tools in the game. Very nice indeed :waytogo:

JMP – Nice Clavius Jeff!

TrevorN – Very nice SW100ED images Trevor; that is one very capable doublet Apo (I know I won’t part with mine). And thanks for jump starting me to kick off this thread, I have been thinking about it for a long time and needed some motivation to get me out of the stable and on the track :poke:

 

 

Clear Skies,

Brian :snoopy:


Edited by BKBrown, 08 May 2015 - 08:03 PM.

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#23 evan9162

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 09:52 PM

Evan9162 - Very nice set Darin, and I like that you even caught the Vallis Alpes rille. What app are you using to build your mosaics? :hmm:

 

 

 

Thanks.  I simply used Photoshop CS2, put each panel in a layer, manually aligned them, and blended them with a layer mask.  It honestly wasn't much work.



#24 BKBrown

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Posted 08 May 2015 - 10:01 PM

Sounds like my procedure as well, although I have also used Microsoft ICE to good effect...a surprisingly easy and effective freeware app for building mosaics.

 

Clear Skies,

Brian :snoopy:



#25 easybob95

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Posted 09 May 2015 - 01:31 PM

Hello

 

An other colored moon (mares), always with the same setup.

 

 

a062fe4a5219a318192ff9b1a81e6a11.620x0_q

 

And photo taken with my Sony A6000 :

 

ed935536c18e733038b29674fe76076b.620x0_q


Edited by easybob95, 11 May 2015 - 12:50 AM.

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