Monday, March 13, 2006
Observing the Moon for beginners

Beginning backyard-astronomers often ask me “what do I need to start observing the Moon”. Basically you only need two things to start off with lunar observing: a small telescope (or binoculars) and a map of the Moon. You also should know a few other things: when to observe the Moon and what to observe (as a beginner). In this article I will try to answer these questions. In the near future I will write an article for those wo are past the beginning stage, the "intermediate" observer. This article however, is meant for the beginning lunar observer.
Posted by Math on 03/13 at 04:26 AM | (6) Comments | filed in: Lunar basics | Print
Friday, March 03, 2006
Zeiss Diascope and Coolpix 4500 for Birding and Lunar Imaging

During the last few months I have frequently been asked about the new setup that I use for birding and for imaging the Moon: what setup do you use for birding and for imaging the Moon, and why do you image the Moon with the Zeiss Diascope anyway. Why not use the TAL 200K or the TAL 100RS?

I will start with answering the last question first, why do you image the Moon with the Zeiss 85mm, why not use you’re 8-inch TAL Klevtzov or 4-inch TAL reflector. In the second part of the article I will tell you more about the setup I use for both imaging the Moon and for birding.
Posted by Math on 03/03 at 07:45 AM | (1) Comments | filed in: Equipment | Print
Monday, February 20, 2006
Lunar phases

Why do you see different portions of the Moon lit by the sun

The Moon has no light source of its own. It "shines" because it reflects sunlight. At any given moment, half of the surface is lit while the other half is dark. On the Moon there is night an day, just as on Earth. But what causes the changing appearance of the Moon, what causes the lunar phases?
Posted by Math on 02/20 at 05:27 AM | (3) Comments | filed in: Lunar basics | Print
Monday, February 13, 2006
Copernicus and Montes Riphaeus
On Monday January 9, between 16.00 hrs UT an 18.00 hrs UT, I observed a nine-day-old Moon and shot a few images of different parts of the lunar landscape. I used the TAL 200K combined with various eyepieces to observe the Moon visually. The eyepieces ranged from a 32m Televue Plossl to a 5mm Vixen Lanthanum.

For me, the most interesting features imaged were Clavius (previously published in this blog), Copernicus and Montes Riphaeus, and finally the Plato area (will be published in the near future). I used the Nikon coolpix 4500 and a 20mm Vixen Lanthanum eyepiece combined with a Baader IR/UV cut filter for the overview image of the Copernicus-Riphaeus area (images 2 and 3).
Posted by Math on 02/13 at 03:05 PM | (0) Comments | filed in: Lunar log | Print
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Deep sky nights......
On Monday January 23 I did some deepsky observing with the TAL 200K mounted on the EQ6, equipped with the Argo Navis Digital Telescope Computer. I used a range of eyepieces from 32mm to 5mm, sometimes combined with the Tal 2x barlow. I also used the 85mm Zeiss refractor with the 20-60x Zeiss zoom-eyepiece and a 32mm Televue Plossl. I observed from 20.00 hours UT till 00.30 hours UT. The seeing varied during the evening between 4 and 6 on a scale of 10 (10=best). The objects observed where M 42, M 43, the Eskimo nebula (NGC 2392), NGC 2903, Castor, Saturn / M 44, Alcor and Mizar, Sirius, Iota Cancri, Polaris and M 65 / M 66.

Posted by Math on 02/04 at 12:34 PM | (1) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Beautiful Clavius
On Monday January 9th I observed the Moon for a few hours. One of my favorite regions, the Longomontanus-Clavius-Moretus region, lay near the terminator, and was beautifully lit. Clavius itself is a large crater (or is it a basin?) with a diameter of 225 km. On the floor of Clavius, I could not only see the well-known semi-circular row of craters (Rutherfurd, Clavius D, C, N and J) but also numerous smaller craters. Towards the southern rim I could see between 10 and 15 of these small features on the lava flooded floor of Clavius. On the crater’s circular rim I saw 4 smaller craters superimposed, Rutherfurd and Porter on the east, and Clavius K and L on the opposite side. This was also the first time I had a closer look at the walls of Clavius. There were numerous small craters visible, and some parts of the rim looked like they were more or less slumped and degraded.
Posted by Math on 01/15 at 10:26 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Lunar log | Print
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Observing report TAL 250K
Last night, Leo and I observed the Moon, Saturn and a number of deepsky objects. We used an 8-inch Vixen Newtonian (R200SS) and a 10-inch TAL Klevtzov-Cassegrain (both mounted on a Lichtenknecker mount), combined with a Baader wide field bino-viewer. We used different Zeiss eyepieces. For wide-field viewing we also used a Zeiss 85mm Diascope with Zeiss 20-60x zoom eyepiece and two binoculars, a Vixen 15x80 and a TS 20x90. The deepsky objects observed were M 35, M 42, M 43, M 44, NGC 2264, NGC 2392, Alcor and Mizar, Cor Caroli and NGC 2261.

Posted by Math on 01/08 at 12:09 PM | (1) Comments | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Flying over the Moon
Last week I shot my first “live” footage from the Moon using the camcorder and the 85mm Zeiss. The camcorder was connected to a TAL 25mm plossl with a ScopeTronix adaptor. At the moment I am waiting for a new adaptor from Eagle Eye Optics, which will enable me to connect the camcorder, the Nikon Coolpix or any other camera to the Zeiss zoom-eyepiece. This should make life a little easier. I also got a new video-head for my tripod, the Manfrotto 501. This should give me good stability for shooting lunar images with the Zeiss just using the tripod. Anyway, if you’re interested in the first results I got, click on the image below, and the movie (about 3 minutes) will start (9 mb!) Allow a little time for the movie to load.


Posted by Math on 12/14 at 04:48 AM | (1) Comments | filed in: Lunar scraps | Print
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