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New to Lunar observing as a focus area

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#1 aeajr

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 02:52 PM

I came back into astronomy about 2 years ago.  Binoculars and first scope about 18 months ago. 

 

Naturally I have looked at the moon many times.  I have an Orion Moon Map 260.  

 

 

But if I was going to become a more educated, more focused lunar observer what should I know?  

 

  • Is there a top list of things to see?  
  • I saw something about the lunar 100 in another thread but don't know anything about it.
  • Special techniques I should be aware of?
  • Special filters?

It is the moon.  I have looked at it many times, but perhaps I have not really "seen" it.   Guide me.

 

My equipment is in my signature but basically:

 

ETX 80 400 mm FL Goto refractor

ETX 125   1900 mm FL GoTo Mak

Orion XT8i 203 mm  1200 mm FL Dob

Orion 25% transmission ND filter

Orion Moon Map 260

 

Just asking if there is anything I should know other than just go look at stuff.


Edited by aeajr, 06 February 2017 - 02:56 PM.

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#2 S.Boerner

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 03:13 PM

The Lunar 100 is a list that was originally published in Sky & Telescope.  Google Lunar 100 and you can find the list at:
http://www.skyandtel.../the-lunar-100/  and a host of other places.

 

The Astronomical League has two lunar observing programs:  Lunar and Lunar 2.  Both programs require 100 observations but not necessarily the same as the Lunar 100.

 

Lunar:  https://www.astrolea...nar/lunar1.html

Luner II: https://www.astrolea...I/lunarII1.html

 

If you use a computer as part of your observing I highly recommend the free Virtual Moon Atlas:

https://www.ap-i.net/avl/en/start  it makes crater hopping fairly easy.  It also gives a best suggest time to see the features based on days before or after new or full moon.

 

Lastly there is the Lunar Forum on CloudyNights but it looks like you've already discovered that.


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#3 aeajr

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 03:20 PM

That looks like a great start. Thanks!



#4 CP Kuiper

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 03:37 PM

Take it 1 lunar day at a time:

Moonwalk with Your Eyes: A Pocket Field Guide (Astronomer's Pocket Field Guide)


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#5 John_Moore

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 03:45 PM

"Take it 1 lunar day at a time:"

 

A wonderful, and wise comment (good title, too, for the next lunar book out there envisioned)

 

John


Edited by Jayem, 06 February 2017 - 03:57 PM.

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#6 The Ardent

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 03:57 PM

The Sky and Telescope Mirror moon map was ver helpful when using a refractor or class with left-right flipped image.
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#7 astrochef

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 05:23 PM

Hi Ed,

Yes the Lunar 100 is a great place to start. With every feature you observe, you are sure to find some adjacent feature that will pique your curiosity. Pretty soon you're waiting for the right day (night) to catch something you've been trying to find instead of dreading the Moon as a hindrance to deep sky objects.

After all, where else in the universe can you observe such detail with fairly modest equipment.

Welcome to the Lunacy.

Ty


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#8 aeajr

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 05:38 PM

Hi Ed,

Yes the Lunar 100 is a great place to start. With every feature you observe, you are sure to find some adjacent feature that will pique your curiosity. Pretty soon you're waiting for the right day (night) to catch something you've been trying to find instead of dreading the Moon as a hindrance to deep sky objects.

After all, where else in the universe can you observe such detail with fairly modest equipment.

Welcome to the Lunacy.

Ty

Well,  you nailed it.  I am in serious light pollution and when the moon is bright everything is seriously washed out.    So, why not visit the Moon.   I have done this before but never with any particular plan.    That is why I stopped by and asked.

 

One month I located all the Apollo sites.  That was fun.


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#9 James6685

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 08:55 AM

Is there a top list of things to see? Free Virtual Moon Atlas software: The "Ephemeris" tab allows you to pick the date and time you will be observing and changes the terminator.  The "Terminator" tab then shows a list of objects rated from most interesting to least (rated from 1 to 4 there are close to 600 features in the top two categories of interest... that keeps you busy for a while). The "Tools" tab allows you to change the view to Mirror image.

 

Special techniques I should be aware of?

A tracking mount sure makes life easier when you are going back and forth between a map and the eyepiece.

A mirror image map like the S&T or even the free Fred Dase Lunar Field Atlas sure helped me.

Find the best magnification for the night.  While it's great viewing at 200X + on nights that allow it, lower mags work just great.

Using my mirror image map I just start at the top and slowly work my way down the terminator identifying/logging features. While it's tempting to look/log features that are farther away from the terminator you just won't get the detail or wonderful shadows.  As Keith so wonderfully pointed out, "Take it 1 lunar day at a time."

 

Special filters?

I started with a moon filter.  Now I just leave a light on, and move the objects off center of the eyepiece to take most of the bright moon out of the FOV.  Once again 1 lunar day at a time along the terminator.

 

Just some random thoughts on things I have learned.  I started in 2005 and found the moon very confusing at first.  There are so many features.


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#10 MikeBOKC

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 09:45 AM

Be sure to download a list of Lunar X dates and times and shoot for one this year. Always fascinating to watch the X form right on schedule!


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#11 BillP

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 04:21 PM

The Moon is both an easy target and a difficult target.  Difficult because there is so much to see that it can be rather overwhelming.  So really depends on your interests as to where to begin and what to look for.  Once can do a survey of the major geologic formations on the Moon if their interest revolves around geology (highlands, seas, domes, craters, volcanoes, rilles, faults, lava flows, etc.).  From an exploration perspective it is neat to zero in on the Apollo landing sites.  From a general perspective the Lunar 100 list is nice.  There are various unusual things to see and things that are still a mystery as exactly what process formed them, like lunar swirls (e.g., Reiner Gamma).  And sometimes it is fun to just look at a detailed pic of a section of the Moon and whatever looks interesting to your eye to try and find with the telescope (e.g., https://upload.wikim...nus_(LRO).png).

 

Here's some links to get the exploration started...

 

Top 10 - http://astronomy.com...nar targets.pdf

 

Top 100 - http://astrospider.c...unar100list.htm

 

Primary Lunar Features - https://upload.wikim...n_names.svg.png

 

USGS Geologic Atlas of Moon - http://www.lpi.usra....apcatalog/usgs/

 

USAF Lunar Mosaic (1960) - http://www.lpi.usra....mapcatalog/LEM/

 

Lunar Near-Side Geology Map - http://www.donaldeda...UB/MOONGEOs.jpg

 

Lunar Surface Basics - http://astrosun2.ast...s/Lecture13.pdf

 

What's Hot on the Moon - http://cornerstoneva...BookExcerpt.pdf

 

Exploring the Moon - http://lroc.sese.asu...heMoonGuide.pdf

 

A Little Guide to Lunar Domes - http://www.skyandtel...to-lunar-domes/

 

Apollo Landing Sites - http://www.skyandtel...-landing-sites/

 

Four Centuries of Temporary Phenomena Observations - http://www.astrosurf...apers/R-277.pdf

 

Other Unusual Things...

 

http://the-moon.wiki... Features Lists

 

https://phys.org/new...nar-swirls.html

 

http://www.planetary...ace-on-the.html

 

http://www.homepages...onZoo_paper.pdf


Edited by BillP, 08 February 2017 - 05:49 PM.

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#12 aeajr

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 05:42 PM

Bill,

 

Thanks for all the links.  Lots there to explore since I am under cloudy skies for the next few days.

 

Mike,

 

I seem to recall seeing something about the Lunar X but was not all that interested at the time. I will do a search on that.

 

James,

 

I now have the free virtual moon atlas.  Very interesting to see the terminator progress hour by hour.



#13 The Ardent

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 05:52 PM

One thing to note about the terminator, it'll be back. 


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#14 BillP

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 08:00 PM

I seem to recall seeing something about the Lunar X but was not all that interested at the time. I will do a search on that.

 

https://the-moon.wik...ces.com/Lunar X

 

When to start observing...

http://www.cloudynig...2017/?p=7605573


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#15 Michael2

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 09:08 PM

Hi Ed, I am a fairly recent convert to Luar observing and nearly gave up, until I purchased the "Mirror-Image Moon Map" by Sky and Telescope. I use a SCT with a diagonal. Could not get oriented before. :eyecrazy:

As others have mentioned, no need for dark adaption. Use a nice bright reading lamp right at the map. Music stand works for me.

 

Michael


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#16 Tyson M

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 11:28 PM

Excellent thread, I bookmarked many links and got some good book suggestions here. 

 

Awesome! 


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#17 Tyson M

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 11:28 PM

Hi Ed, I am a fairly recent convert to Luar observing and nearly gave up, until I purchased the "Mirror-Image Moon Map" by Sky and Telescope. I use a SCT with a diagonal. Could not get oriented before. :eyecrazy:

As others have mentioned, no need for dark adaption. Use a nice bright reading lamp right at the map. Music stand works for me.

 

Michael

Great suggestion, I am finding the same, I will look into that mirror image map. 


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#18 aeajr

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 05:28 AM

Hi Ed, I am a fairly recent convert to Luar observing and nearly gave up, until I purchased the "Mirror-Image Moon Map" by Sky and Telescope. I use a SCT with a diagonal. Could not get oriented before. :eyecrazy:

As others have mentioned, no need for dark adaption. Use a nice bright reading lamp right at the map. Music stand works for me.

 

Michael

I have the Orion MoonMap 260

 

It has a correct and reversed image view.   I am quite happy with this one.

http://www.telescope...eyword=moon map


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#19 BillP

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 11:33 AM

Another nice resource is to use this zoomable image that is a composit of LROC images.  So before you go out and explore a focus area of the Moon, first go here to map out some of the more interesting visual formations to hunt for with the scope.

 

http://gigapan.com/g.../gigapans/72052


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#20 REC

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 02:47 PM

Bill,

 

Thanks for all the links.  Lots there to explore since I am under cloudy skies for the next few days.

 

Mike,

 

I seem to recall seeing something about the Lunar X but was not all that interested at the time. I will do a search on that.

 

James,

 

I now have the free virtual moon atlas.  Very interesting to see the terminator progress hour by hour.

Fun watching the "X" form. There is also a "V" further down the terminator. Here is a shot of it a few years back.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Luner X - Copy.jpg

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#21 Michael2

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 05:23 AM

Another nice resource is to use this zoomable image that is a composit of LROC images.  So before you go out and explore a focus area of the Moon, first go here to map out some of the more interesting visual formations to hunt for with the scope.

 

http://gigapan.com/g.../gigapans/72052

Thanks for the link. :waytogo: Great detail.

 

Michael.



#22 aeajr

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 09:34 AM

Well I would not call it real Lunar observing but I am so despirate for some observing time I will grab anything anytime there is even a small gap in the clouds.

 

I pulled out my 5" ETX 127 pointed it at the Moon as the moon drifted in and out of the clouds.  It was never fully clear but at least I had something in the eyepiece.   I had my 8-24 mm zoom in the focuser so I could zoom in and out.   

 

Lots of clouds this winter.



#23 Rick Woods

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 06:51 PM

I didn't see Charles Wood's "21st Century Atlas of the Moon" listed. For real life, sharp views of all the stuff, you can't beat that one, and it's not very expensive. The "Hatfield Photographic Lunar Atlas" is also very, very good. But neither of these things is all that big on what you should look for; there, books and web sites (like this one!) will give you lots of ideas.

 

I like to just cruise the landscape using wide-angle eyepieces. The more I can see in one view, the more fun it is. On some really clear nights, it's like being in orbit around the Moon! You'll make discoveries, then go running to your sources to find out if someone has seen it before.



#24 azure1961p

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 09:53 PM

Ed,

 

Right now, with the jetstream over us all winter seeing will be either ok, or poor. If your lucky it's good, but it's uncommon in winter. Just mentioning this to temper your expectations. Where your scope REALLY comes into its own on the moon is summer...

 

That maksutov in say, august with those balmy night's where you sweat just stepping out into the night, the seeing is often close to 10. You'll see rich textures in the highlands that are impossibly rich . I'm a northeaster too,  but let me say straightaway, those hot night's,  on the moon ... you'll never forget the clarity. Just this one bit of advice: stay off the asphalt.  It radiates heat into the night well past midnight. A nice grassy patch is perfect.

 

For now you can skate away with some ok views on getter nights but comes summer, the highlands at 60x per inch and sharp. When you finally see it, youll kmow why summer is the best lunar season to observe.

 

Pete


Edited by azure1961p, 12 February 2017 - 09:59 PM.


#25 aeajr

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 11:56 PM

Thanks Pete.  Appreciate the encouragement.




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