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The Friday Night Full Moon Opportunity in North America

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#1 james7ca

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 05:20 AM

The moon will be full late Friday night and into very early Saturday morning (depending upon your time zone) and for those observers in the western U.S. there will be a fairly rare opportunity to have the full moon positioned on the local meridian, meaning its highest point in the sky. Plus, we're still reasonably close to the winter solstice so the moon will be fairly high in the sky.

 

According to SkySafari the moon will be full at 12:18am PST on Saturday morning and from my location is southern California the moon will pass through the meridian at 12:09am. So, a very good apparition. When it reaches my meridian the moon will have an altitude of just over 69 degrees (people on the far western coast of Mexico will have an even better view, in La Paz the full moon will be almost 76 degrees above the horizon).

 

Right now it looks like I will have clear to mostly clear skies but with the winds coming out of the east and with somewhat low humidity we'll probably be under a Santa Ana condition which usually brings very poor seeing conditions (but clear skies). Clear Dark Sky predicts poor to average seeing, while Meteoblue is suggesting 0.5 arc second seeing with an index1 of 4 and index 2 of 2 and with a fairly high jetstream. However, I don't think either of these sites factors in our Santa Ana conditions which are really make or break in terms of planetary imaging.

 

In any case, here is what NASA's Visualization Studio shows for midnight (late Friday or early Saturday):

 

Saturday, February 27, 2021, 08:00 UT
Phase 99.8% (15d 12h 54m)
Diameter 1933.8 arcseconds
Distance 370638 km (29.09 Earth diameters)
J2000 Right Ascension, Declination 10h 48m 7s, 12° 59' 2"
Subsolar Longitude, Latitude -4.407°, -1.532°
Sub-Earth Longitude, Latitude -4.584°, -6.484°
Position Angle 22.522°

 

Also, for those interested in planning full moon shots here is a thread from late 2019 that discussed in detail the best dates for imaging the full moon:

 

  https://www.cloudyni...1/#entry9812291

 

[UPDATE]

I guess I should have posted this over in the Lunar Observing and Imaging topic, but I've yet to get use to posting my lunar images over in the "Observing" topic rather than under astrophotography.

 

Maybe one of the mods can move my post.

[/UPDATE]

Attached Thumbnails

  • Full Moon Feb 27 2021.jpg

Edited by james7ca, 26 February 2021 - 05:27 AM.

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#2 John_Moore

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 09:12 AM

Good luck, James...looks like you're all prepared.

 

Be sure to present us with the final results.

 

John Moore



#3 james7ca

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Posted 26 February 2021 - 10:06 AM

Good luck, James...looks like you're all prepared.

 

Be sure to present us with the final results.

 

John Moore

Thanks.

 

My only problem (besides getting clear skies and good seeing) is that I'm trying to match one of my cameras to a scope that will allow me to capture the entire moon in one frame while still giving me a decent resolution. I'd like to image in color and I know from experience that in this case it would be better to use a one-shot-color camera since doing separate RGB filters often results in problems getting the color channels to align (easy to do for DSOs and planets, much more difficult on the moon).

 

But, I really don't have a good match between any of my cameras and scopes. I have APS-C mirrorless cameras (Sony NEX-5N and 5R) that would offer decent resolution and color but the still capture rate with that kind of camera is just too slow to get enough frames for a deep stack. However, the only dedicated astro camera that I have that is one-shot-color (the QHY5III-178C) has a sensor that is really too small to capture the full moon in one frame (unless I use one of my smaller scopes), so that means doing a mosaic which I'd like to avoid.

 

I got a decent enough image just over one year ago using the Sony NEX-5R on an EdgeHD, but I ended up with just 24 frames and even then I had to do a 1x2 mosaic to cover the entire moon (thus, 48 frames total). What I'd like to do is combine a thousand or more frames using a color camera and that isn't possible with a still camera (where I think the maximum safe frame rate is probably only about 12 frames per minute). I may just have to use the QHY5III-178C and do a multi-frame mosaic. I guess I need to buy a larger color camera, something like the QHY183C or ASI183MC. I could also use that for lunar eclipses which absolutely require one-shot-color (IMO) and for color work on DSOs (although separate RGB filters work pretty well for DSOs).

 

 

[UPDATE]

I've decided to use a 6" TPO Newtonian with the QHY5III-178C and a Baader MPCC coma corrector. I've used that configuration before to do full moon shots, but it requires a 2x3 mosaic to allow plenty of overlap to do the frame combination. It's definitely going to be clear tonight and I've got 240GB of free space on my SSD and the scope is already outside cooling down (with over two hours until capture time).

[/UPDATE]


Edited by james7ca, 27 February 2021 - 12:52 AM.


#4 james7ca

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Posted 07 March 2021 - 12:27 AM

Just to finish up, I was able to capture the full moon on the morning of Feb. 27 and I posted my results in the following thread:

 

  https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10916349




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