First Quarter Moon - Highland Road Park Observatory - 20" OGS by Briar Richard

First Quarter Moon - Highland Road Park Observatory - 20" OGS by 

Featured on RB’s homepage March 22, 2011, along with seven spectacular images.

The first quarter Moon of January 2010 was a beauty. The atmosphere was cloudless, and the air column was as stable as I’ve seen through a telescope. In the 40 minutes allotted, the Moon transited the meridian at 81 degrees above the horizon, where the atmosphere is nearly most transparent.

I used a 2" T-adapter to connect my D90 to the Highland Road Park Observatory’s 20" OGS Ritchey Chretien’ telescope. If the lunar geography looks a bit strange, it’s the result of the scope’s optics rendering a mirror image of what the unaided eye sees. The dark lunar seas at bottom right are actually located at top right and arch downward.

The exposure is 1/60 sec. at ISO 400. All post-processing was performed in Adobe Lightroom 2.7.

The observable Universe sprang into existence 13.7 billion years ago, and has evolved to observe itself. In my opinion, there’s no greater event to consider. I enjoy astronomy, photography, and time with my wife and little boy. While capturing and editing photos, I jam to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Air Supply, LMFAO, The Foo Fighters, REM, Barry Manilow, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Duran Duran, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, U2, Boyz to Men, Pearl Jam, Peter Gabriel, Queen, Color Me Badd, and The Beach Boys.

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  • Duncan Waldron
    Duncan Waldronover 4 years ago

    Well, if you’re talking R-C, no wonder the image is magnificent. Prime focus, I assume. Have you measured the resolution on this?

    The Moon seems such a banal subject, but it is ever fascinating, and I’d love to have a go at it with this scope. If I’m ever in Louisiana, expect a knock on the door!

  • Glad you liked the picture, Duncan. I’d have loved to situate my cam at prime focus – but in this instance, I simply placed the Nikon T-adapter into the 2” eyepiece slot to catch light from the secondary. There are amazing vid CCD systems like the MallinCam that are designed to capture at primary focus, and I hope to own one somewhere down the road.

    The telescope’s angular resolution is approx .5 arseconds at Dawes’ Limit, and if memory serves, that allows us to resolve lunar features just over a mile across.

    And if you’re ever in south Louisiana, consider yourself openly invited for picture taking through the scope. That would be a blast!

    – Briar Richard

  • Bonnie T.  Barry
    Bonnie T. Barryover 4 years ago

    Briar, what a shot, one to be very excited about and proud of! I’m blessed to have had you as a student; now you are my teacher! Isn’t it marvelous the way the tables turn? Keep up the STELLAR work!

  • Thanks, Mrs. Bonnie. I’m in perpetual awe of the talent on display here, and most certainly remain a student of yours and everyone else at RB. Glad to see that I’ve inspired you like you’ve always inspired me. :)

    – Briar Richard

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 4 years ago

    Wonderful capture, Briar!

  • Thank you so much! The way you capture and present color is absolutely stunning!

    – Briar Richard

  • Dave & Trena Puckett
    Dave & Trena P...over 4 years ago

    This is wonderful Blair! The details are stunning!! SO beautiful!!!

  • Briar Richard
    Briar Richardover 4 years ago

    Thanks y’all! I’ve just begun to go through your wonderful captures. The praying mantis pic is one of a kind…my favorite thus far!

  • AuntDot
    AuntDotover 4 years ago

    Thank you, Briar. You are very kind.

  • Andrew Murrell
    Andrew Murrellover 4 years ago

    Great image out of the R-C, what was the f for the scope?
    I know from experience that a 20" view of the moon is BRIGHT.

  • Thanks, Andrew! The scope is an f/8.1.

    The brightness does get out of hand between first and last quarter phases. We typically pop in a lunar filter at those times, but I took these shots without filters. As a result, the originals were overexposed nearly to the terminator. Lightroom’s brightness and contrast dials saved the day!

    – Briar Richard

  • laruecherie
    laruecherieover 4 years ago

    What an incredible photo! The detail is just amazing.

  • Thanks, Sheri. I hope to take more lunar pics this winter. I’d like to capture the portion that’s in shadow in the above pic when it’s illuminated. I’ll either have to stay up very late or get up early to catch it at just the right time. Should be fun!

    – Briar Richard

  • Navigator
    Navigatorover 4 years ago

    When I first saw the thumbnail of this shot in my inbox, I was startled by the fact that there seemed to be great symmetry within the photo captured. There’s a circle and what appears to be squared off markings. Very interesting. And it’s a photo of such clarity and detail! Very well done! Makes me feel like I’ve been there. :-)

  • Glad you liked the pic! Most of these lunar shot were so full of light that I might be able to double the magnification while keeping the same clarity. We’ll see!

    – Briar Richard

  • ClintDMc
    ClintDMcover 4 years ago

    awesome shot. wish I had something that could that up close and personal.

  • Thanks, Clint. We’re very fortunate to have access to the 20" OGS. It’s one of the perks of operating the scope for the public.

    – Briar Richard

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