THE FRUGAL MOON ASTROPHOTOGRAPHER

by John Podlenski

Moon PhasesThe images of the Moon on this web page were captured using a telescope built from a Stargazer Steve Kit (about US$250) and a Grayscale Quickcam (about $40). Although astrophotographers typically use more elaborate telescopes and cameras, it's amazing what can be done with a good quality beginners telescope and an inexpensive digital camera.

These images can't compare with the views seen through the eyepiece. But they can provide a way to archive shots of the Moon to share with others, or to study later. For those who may want to try something similar, details and links are provided in additional pages.



Image #001

South East Region at 6 Days

This was the first Moon image taken with the QuickCam and telescope. Not knowing what to expect, the result was a nice surprise. The southern Moon is saturated with craters. The (barely) prominent trio of craters located up and to the left of the image's center are (left, right, down) Vlacq, Hommel, and Pitiscus.


Mare Nectaris

Mare Nectaris and Surrounding Craters at 6 Days

Mare Nectaris spans an area about 350 km in diameter (220 mi). The crater Fracastorius (124 km/77 mi) appears as a bay on the upper shore. Theophilus (with central peak) and Cyrillus are to the right, near the terminator. Piccolomini (88 km/55 mi) is the crater at the upper edge of the image, also with a central peak.


North East Region

North East Region at 6 Days

Atlas (87 km/54 mi) is at the center of the image near the terminator, with Hercules barely visible to it's right. Larger Endymion (125 km/78 mi) is to the lower left of Atlas. The walls of Endymion plummet 5,000 meters (16,100 ft) to the crater floor. The dark region to the lower left of Endymion is Mare Humboldtianum.



Three Maria and Three Mountain Ranges

Three Maria and Three Mountain Ranges at 8 Days

In this two-image mosaic Mare Serenitatis is the prominent sea at upper left, with Mare Vaporum at the upper right of the image. Mare Imbrium is just emerging from the terminator at lower right. The Alps are at the bottom of the image. The Caucasus Mountains (lower left) and the Apenninus Mountains (upper right) stretch diagonally across the image, separated by a 50 km (30 mi) 'strait'. - More Detail -


Trios of Craters

Trios of Craters in South Central Region at 8 Days

The trio of craters at the lower-left are (bottom to top) Ptolomaeus, Alphonsus, and Arzachel. Arching above them are Purbach, Regiomontanus and Walter. To the left of these are a smaller set of four; La Caille, Banchinus (faint), Werner and Aliacensis.


Location, location, location... Telescope: Stargazer Steve 4 1/4-Inch Deluxe Reflector
Camera: Connectix Grayscale QuickCam (now Logitech)
Image Processing: Jasc Software's PaintShop Pro
Reference: Atlas of the Moon by Antonín Rükl
Animated Moon Image: Ed Stephans
Email: podlenski@earthlink.net



IMAGES | DETAILS


Last revised: December 5, 2000