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Apollo 11 and 16 Landing Sites

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#1 james7ca

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 07:33 AM

With the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing (Apollo 11) coming up on July 20 I wanted to see if I could improve on my image of the landing site using a 9.25" EdgeHD. So, here is an image that I took on May 11 June 9, 2019 covering both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 16 landing sites (the latter the first Apollo mission to the lunar highlands).

 

I've also prepared labeled images (both mine and images taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, you should be able to tell which is which grin.gif ) showing the precise landing sites and other landmarks. Based upon measurements that I took from LRO images it looks like I recorded craters down to just about 0.9 kilometers, which turns out to be an angular resolution of 0.5 arc seconds based upon the then current distance to the moon. In particular, it appears that I recorded the craters Palmetto and Gator which are just north of the Apollo 16 landing site (Palmetto was visited by the astronauts using the lunar rover). To get under the CN posting limits I rotated my image so that north is to the left.

 

I also captured the so-called Cat's Paw crater group that is probably the closest feature to the Apollo 11 landing site that can be seen from earth using a small to medium sized telescope. This is the first time that I've resolved details in the Cat's Paw, as it's just possible to see two toes (or pads) on the "paw" feature. There is also an unnamed crater (barely, I mean very barely, detected) that is about 1 km in size that is just south (to the right) of the Cat's Paw. Then there are the three craters that were officially named after the Apollo 11 crew (Armstrong, Collins, and Aldrin).

 

In the following images taken with the EdgeHD the Apollo 11 site is toward the upper left side, while Apollo 16 is on the lower right (the latter's text label may be a bit difficult to see since the landing area around Apollo 16 is pretty rough terrain).

 

My image was taken with a 9.25" Celestron EdgeHD at f/10 using a ZWO ASI183MM Pro ASI178MM-Cool and a Baader 610nm Long Pass filter. Image processing with AutoStakkert!, Registax, and Photoshop CC2019. The images taken by the LRO are labeled as such and were taken from the LRO Quickmap website. The blue, circular markers on the LRO images are the EXACT positions of the landings, I zoomed in on the LRO images until the lander was visible and then used the website's point drawing tool to mark the SPOT.

 

The next time that these features will likely be visible will be on July 8.

 

C&C welcomed.

 

[EDIT]

Corrected date and camera for capture with the EdgeHD.

[/EDIT]

Attached Thumbnails

  • Apollo Landing Sites with an EdgeHD and ASI183MM Pro (Small).jpg

Edited by james7ca, 24 June 2019 - 05:21 AM.

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#2 james7ca

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 07:33 AM

Here is the shot with text labels (taken with the EdgeHD). The Apollo 16 site is on the lower right.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Apollo Landing Sites May 11 2019 Labeled.jpg

Edited by james7ca, 23 June 2019 - 11:48 PM.

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#3 james7ca

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 07:35 AM

And the LRO images. Note that the Cat's Paw, Palmetto, Gator, North Ray, and South Ray features were named by the astronauts themselves (as, I believe, navigation points).

Attached Thumbnails

  • Apollo 11 Landing Area.jpg
  • Apollo 16 Landing Area.jpg

Edited by james7ca, 23 June 2019 - 11:50 PM.

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#4 aeroman4907

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 08:23 AM

These are great images James - and very resolute.  Thanks for posting!



#5 NinePlanets

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 10:11 AM

Very nice. Thank you!



#6 NenoVento

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 11:27 AM

I've enjoyed enormously the pictures and the explanation, thanks James

#7 lynnelkriver

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 11:37 AM

Wow very nice images!  Scott



#8 astrolexi

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 01:34 PM

Great work James! Thank you!

 

Best wishes (and waiting for your other landing sites...)

Klaus



#9 james7ca

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Posted 23 June 2019 - 11:54 PM

aeroman4907, NinePlanets, NenoVento, Scott, and Klaus thanks for the comments.



#10 Tulloch

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 02:29 AM

Wonderful images, very well resolved, these are definitely on my to-do list.

 

Thanks for posting.

 

Andrew



#11 Tom Glenn

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 03:20 AM

Nice image, James.  From the time you listed, as well as the shadows in the image, it seems as though you were about a day later than the optimal lighting would have been for this region, which makes the detail captured near Cat's Paw for example, even more challenging.  So nice job.  It's always a tricky balance in timing, because although a closer terminator leads to longer shadows, it can also make the overall detail more difficult to capture.  And then of course, with the weather we've been having, you don't get to pick and choose your imaging days.  Just from my own experience, I feel like the Cat's Paw seems to show up better during a waning gibbous Moon with the terminator approaching from the east, but that may just be anecdotal.



#12 james7ca

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 03:40 AM

Tom, thanks.

 

I have images taken a day earlier and it's true that the lighting was better on the Apollo 11 site. However, on that particular night I was using the C6. I didn't think we'd have clear skies, so I only tried after it looked like the clouds were going to hold off and by then I could only do a quick setup using my C6 on an AVX mount.

 

However, the next day I decided it might be worth trying to get something better so I began setup well before sunset and that allowed me to bring out the EdgeHD and my Mach1GTO mount. As a bonus, it also meant that I could have good lighting on the site of Apollo 16 (which was pretty much in shadow the night before).



#13 Tulloch

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 04:00 AM

Nice image, James.  From the time you listed, as well as the shadows in the image, it seems as though you were about a day later than the optimal lighting would have been for this region, which makes the detail captured near Cat's Paw for example, even more challenging.  So nice job.  It's always a tricky balance in timing, because although a closer terminator leads to longer shadows, it can also make the overall detail more difficult to capture.  

Hi Tom, James, I hadn't even considered this as an issue when photographing the moon, but now you bring it up it seems quite logical.

 

If I'm looking at a particular location of the moon (say the Apollo 11 landing site), what's the best time to photograph it? 2 days before it goes dark? 5? Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Andrew



#14 james7ca

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 04:19 AM

The best lunar simulator in terms of shadows and what will be available at a particular hour is probably NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio website. However, while the high-resolution version of that map is fairly good and detailed (and pretty accurate) it won't show you the smallest details that you could resolve with a medium to large scope.

 

Here is the link (it's also known as "Moon Phase and Libration, 2019" or Dial-A-Moon):  https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4442



#15 james7ca

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 07:28 AM

Okay, I was looking at the timeline for my image and I realized that I had the wrong date for the capture session. It was actually recorded on June 9, 2019 at around 10:06pm. And, it was done with my ZWO ASI178MM rather than the ASI183MM (both offer the same image scale and pixel size, but have different frame sizes). Sorry for any confusion.

 

In any case, to show what NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio and its Dial-A-Moon simulator can do to represent shadows and features at a particular date and time, below is the simulation for June 9, 2019 at 10PM PDT. I’ve cropped, rotated, and enlarged the simulator image to better show the details and to match the image I took using the EdgeHD. The simulator normally produces a full-disk image of the moon, but you can probably see that the shadows on the features are very similar to what I actually captured with the EdgeHD (although the EdgeHD produced a lot more detail and resolution, as you would hope).

Attached Thumbnails

  • NASA's Moon Phase and Libration 2019.jpg

Edited by james7ca, 24 June 2019 - 07:34 AM.


#16 james7ca

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 09:36 AM

Here is a side-by-side of the NASA simulation of the moon's phase with the actual image from the EdgeHD (on the right). The simulations are usually very accurate until you get very close to the fully shadowed terminator of the moon or if you image far toward one of the moon's poles. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • NASA Simulation versus EdgeHD.jpg

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#17 Tulloch

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 04:22 PM

Thanks James, much appreciated.

#18 CeeKay

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Posted 24 June 2019 - 07:50 PM

Excellent work, James... waytogo.gif 



#19 james7ca

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 12:57 AM

Tullock and CeeKay, thanks.

 

I'm not sure why I'm having so many problems with the dates, but I just noticed that the label I put on the NASA lunar simulation is wrong. That simulation is for June 9 at 10PM PDT, but the label on the image says "June 8." One issue, the NASA site takes UTC and that means you have to remember to advance your time from your local date.

 

Anyway, here is the full NASA visualization, showing the date as June 10, 2019 at 05:00 UTC (thus, June 9 at 10PM PDT local time, a seven hour time zone shift). And also the corrected date on the side-by-side.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Moon Visualization June 9 2019 10pm PDT.jpg
  • NASA Simulation versus EdgeHD.jpg

Edited by james7ca, 26 June 2019 - 01:18 AM.

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#20 Peregrinatum

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Posted 26 June 2019 - 01:49 PM

Fantastic work, very inspiring waytogo.gif



#21 james7ca

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Posted 27 June 2019 - 09:55 AM

Peregrinatum, thanks.



#22 agmoonsolns

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 01:55 AM

These are so helpful, thank you, I appreciate all of this information so much!



#23 james7ca

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Posted 24 July 2019 - 11:57 AM

These are so helpful, thank you, I appreciate all of this information so much!

Thanks for the notice. Unfortunately, it's going to be a few more weeks before the Apollo 11 site is visible again. But, at least we'll have the dark of the moon in the meantime (if the clouds ever go away).


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