Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Observing with full moon

  • Please log in to reply
13 replies to this topic

#1 cmckow91



  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 25
  • Joined: 20 Jul 2019
  • Loc: Monroe, la

Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:17 AM

Does anyone observe anything else besides the moon and some planets when the moon is out? In my experience, I can view some deep sky objects opposite of the location of the moon. Everything just seems like a washed out version though. It doesn’t even seem worth it to me. Im under bortle 3 skies and the moonlight when full is intense. Sometimes I can move to where the moon is blocked from my view. It helps but still not worth it. What’s everyone’s thoughts and experience on observing during a partial to full moon? Thanks
  • jayrome likes this

#2 RKK


    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 96
  • Joined: 30 Mar 2016
  • Loc: Colorado

Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:20 AM

 Sounds about right.  Either get some sleep or embrace a love of the moon.  I don't spend hours gazing at the moon under those conditions but will take a quick look, and it is a good time to introduce someone to the hobby.

  • SeaBee1 and Interlude like this

#3 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs


  • *****
  • Posts: 80,092
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:31 AM



The moon and the planets are good targets under a bright moon or under any light polluted sky.  


But another category that is relatively unaffected by light pollution are double stars.  There are huge number of doubles and some triples.  There are many different types, close, wide, unequal, different colors, easy, difficult, each pair has it's own beauty, it's own character.  THere are doubles suited for small scopes, big scopes. excellent seeing, poor seeing..  


Currently, epsilon lyrae, the double-double is well positioned in the evening sky.  Albireo is wide and colorful.  Delta Cygni is a nice unequal split.  Antares is a double but requires good seeing.. 



  • Starman27, izar187, paul m schofield and 8 others like this

#4 S.Boerner



  • *****
  • Posts: 1,201
  • Joined: 29 Apr 2010
  • Loc: Chesterfield, MO

Posted 12 August 2019 - 09:35 AM

Brighter open clusters can be seen (but not always appreciated), multiple stars (as said above), variable stars, and carbon stars.


You can get into the science of measurement of multiple star separations/position angles and variable star brightness estimations.

#5 jayrome


    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 116
  • Joined: 24 Mar 2019
  • Loc: Ottawa, Canada

Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:08 AM

This is something I've been thinking about today as well.

So the moon is waxing to full soon, and normally I wouldn't bother going out and setting up the scope.


Jupiter and Saturn are still very good for observing right now, PLUS the Perseids will be coming down good over the next couple nights. I have a friend who wants to head out and see them so I may as well bring the scope as well and show them Saturn for some of those "Wow!"s


  • izar187 and SeaBee1 like this

#6 rowdy388



  • *****
  • Posts: 3,565
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Saratoga County, NY

Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:11 AM

Using high power on those double stars really darkens the sky and makes the stars pop

compared to using a lower power.

  • Jond105 likes this

#7 Waddensky


    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2017
  • Loc: The Netherlands

Posted 12 August 2019 - 10:35 AM

Yes, the Moon itself, planets, double stars, brighter open clusters, occultations of stars by the Moon, there are a lot of things to see in the moonlight. I always find the star colours more vivid when the Moon is out, perhaps due to a little photopic vision activated by the moonlight.
  • jayrome likes this

#8 MalVeauX


    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,961
  • Joined: 25 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Florida

Posted 12 August 2019 - 11:08 AM

Under most lunar phases when in the sky, even under a dark sky, I don't bother even attempting DSO. I just look at planets or doubles/binaries or the moon itself. Then, when the lunar phase is gone and the new moon is back, it's DSO time and I mix in planets if the interest is there. Makes it fun to have a "planet" scope when the moon is out and a "DSO" scope when the moon is gone.


Very best,

#9 N3p


    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 841
  • Joined: 25 Jun 2018

Posted 12 August 2019 - 11:36 AM

Usually I look at DSO with the moon under +-30% of illumination, over that, it's not worth it for me, it's Moon and planets sketching time instead.


From a sketching point of vue, the Moon is a lifetime sketching object and an amazing object to look at with a small telescope.


I highly appreciate the moon.


Everything is a cycle, when it's time for the moon, it's time for the moon.

  • izar187, zleonis and jayrome like this

#10 IMB


    APM Telescopes Vendor Affiliate

  • -----
  • Vendor Affiliate
  • Posts: 658
  • Joined: 31 Oct 2016

Posted 12 August 2019 - 11:59 AM

In mid-July I visited Bryce Canyon NP. This was exactly at full moon. The sky was wonderfully clear during the day. Judging by its deep blue color transparency was very good. At night out of sheer curiosity I observed the Andromeda Galaxy with my binoculars. In my impression, the view of the Andromeda Galaxy was much better when I observed it from Sandy Hook right across Manhattan at new moon than what I saw at Bryce under perfect skies, but under full moon.

#11 Araguaia


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,606
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2018
  • Loc: deepest, darkest Brazil

Posted 12 August 2019 - 02:20 PM

To me, even large open clusters get too washed out if the moon is out.  All DSOs become disappointing compared to their new moon appearance.


Even once it sets, its glow still ruins the sky for about 15 minutes.  

#12 JOEinCO


    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 602
  • Joined: 28 Sep 2017
  • Loc: Colorado Front Range

Posted 12 August 2019 - 05:00 PM

Last night I was consumed by following all the bright ray patterns on the Moon for a good 90 minutes. I especially like when you see where a mountain range or crater rim blocks part of the blast pattern.


Rays are something you can only see during the larger phases. 

  • BFaucett, SeaBee1 and blange3 like this

#13 Jond105



  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 4,570
  • Joined: 19 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Detroit

Posted 12 August 2019 - 08:27 PM

The power of double star observing and open clusters will bring you out no matter what the conditions. The color of the stars are just as gorgeous as a planet itself if you embrace it. 

  • SeaBee1 likes this

#14 SirLoyne


    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 219
  • Joined: 03 Mar 2018

Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:36 AM

I pop in my 2" 40mm (30x), turn my back to the Moon and look at some open clusters.

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics