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First quarter Moon

Duncan Waldron

Camira, Australia

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Artist's Description

Our only natural satellite is seen here in its evening half moon guise – known as first quarter. Once a month (29.5 days, to be precise), the Moon goes through its cycle of phases, from new to full and back to new again; this gives us the word month.

The half phase is arguably the best time to view the Moon, because the shadows near the day/night boundary allow much detail to be seen in the craters. The craters are the result of around 4 billion years of bombardment by asteroids. At the time of the Moon’s formation, the Solar System was populated not only by the major planets, but also many smaller bodies, the minor planets or asteroids, many of which crashed into the other bodies including our Moon. With no weather or plate tectonics to change the Moon’s surface, many early craters remain in place, albeit overlaid by later impact events or lava flows.

This image is a composite of more than a dozen exposures from a 5MP P&S camera, stacked to reduce the effects of JPEG degradation of the originals, and reduced to greyscale; shot during the day, so quite a bit of blue sky interference. Each was shot through a 6-inch refractor, using the afocal method, holding the camera against the eyepiece (60mm Huyghenian, giving around 40x magnification).

When taking photographs through a telescope, atmospheric stability – ‘seeing’ – can be a problem. In poor seeing conditions, the atmosphere can cause the image to blur and wobble, which reduces the amount of detail visible. At the time these images were taken, the seeing wasn’t perfect. Additionally, the stacking process, although creating a smoother image by cancelling out JPEG artefacts, tends to average the wobbles in the individual images, so very fine details are not present.

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Canon Powershot A460

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Image Copyright Duncan Waldron © 2010
This image may not be reproduced without permission
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astronomy luna lunar moon night

Artwork Comments

  • Andrew Murrell
  • Duncan Waldron
  • Gary  Davey (Jordy)
  • Duncan Waldron
  • Prasad
  • Duncan Waldron
  • Duncan Waldron
  • Dave & Trena Puckett
  • Irish
  • g8tway
  • Briar Richard
  • Duncan Waldron
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