Friday, September 28, 2007

Harvest Moon

I took the above picture around 10:30pm September 26th. I was hoping to get a shot of the Moon as it rose from the horizon to get more of a yellow tinge to it, but unfortunately it had just finished raining, but I did get a real nice rainbow shot.

Never fear, I did get a good shot of the 98% Harvest Moon the night before as it was low on the horizon, has got a nice yellow tint to it. The pictures below illustrate the effect the atmosphere has on the color of the Moon. The top one was taken at 7:00pm, the one below it was taken at 7:24pm, the higher the moon is the less atmosphere it's light travels through, therefore less tint caused by the Earth's atmosphere. The picture below is one of my favorite pictures of the Moon I've ever taken. Since it was still a little light out when I took it, you can see the blue sky contrasting against the wall of the telescope, looks as if your looking through the window of the Lunar Crew Exploration Vehicle as your approaching the moon.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon closest to the autumn equinox, in the northern hemisphere, this year it happens to be September 26th. Called a Harvest Moon because it rises as the Sun sets giving the farmers much needed light as they work long into the night to get their crop off, back in the olden days farmers never had lights on their tractors so the harvest moon was a welcome sight indeed. Anna over at My Only Photo took some great pictures as well check them out.

Tycho Crater , top left side of the Moon in the above picture, the major crater with the vast ray system, some reaching as far as 2000 kms, I've mentioned this crater a couple times before, what can I say it's my favorite. Tycho was in 2001: A Space Odyssey the book and the film, Tycho was a location for one of the monoliths, also in the film Star Trek First Contact, Tycho was the location of Tycho City.

To give you an example of how much the full moon lights up the night sky, I was up at 3:30am Wednesday morning to do some astronomy, it was going to be a warm night , by warm I mean 10 degrees C so I thought I'd take advantage of the last warm nights before winter and do some stargazing. I get outside and the moon is directly overhead casting it's blue gray glow over everything. My pod was actually glowing a blueish color, spooky yet beautiful. This strange moonlight is what our eye night sensitive rods pick up, which are 1,000 times more sensitive than our eye cones which are used for day viewing, but the rods are colorblind and are more sensitive to the blues more so then the reds. In astronomy we use averted vision, when we can't see something directly, we look off to the side of where we think the target should be and let our rods find the target, works all the time. The strange moonlight article has some cool sayings, "Moonlight steals color from whatever it touches" or "it's a bit like seeing the world through an old black and white TV set". Needless to say it was too bright that morning for viewing galaxies or nebulae, but the globular and open star clusters were magnificent as usual.

A Press Release issued last Thursday by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory stating a team of 5 astronomers has found a "mysterious" pulse from outer space, about 3 billion light years distant. It was a one time pulse lasting under 5 milliseconds. To date no other pulse or signal has the same characteristics as this one and as they put it "represents an entirely new astronomical phenomenon". The team had gone through approximately 500 hours of archival data recordings by Parkes Radio Telescope of Apollo 11 fame. Scientists are not sure exactly what they have found, could be anything from superdense neutron stars colliding to evaporating black holes. Right now no one knows or has seen anything like it, that's why it is so exciting.


Aura said...

Great pics of the moon bob! I have never had any success photographing the moon. In my pics it always comes out small and blurry. I need the right equipment.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Aura, You need a lot of luck as well, doesn't hurt if you've taken a billion pictures of the Moon, you usually have some good ones to pick from,lol.

kml said...

The one with the yellow tint is gorgeous! It is the most 3D looking photo of the moon I have ever seen - excellent job!!

Susanne in Key West said...

Hi Bob,

It is always a lot to learn on your sites, interesting astral stuf and the moon pictures are fantastic and absolutely professional, but as a "more down to earth woman" I like your rainbow photo very much!:-)

Rick said...

Great pics Bob! I tried to take a few but couldn't get my settings right. Do you have any tips for moon photographers? What was the aperture and shutter delay you used?

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks a lot Kathy, I love that one too. my fav so far!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Susanne, I was kind of grumpy because of the rain, but then the rainbow came out and I thought boy that looks awesome, the Sun was just in the right location, the clouds looked cool, I thought I wonder if I could capture just a little of what I'm seeing, and it actually turned out pretty good.

Bob Johnson said...

Hi Rick, for my afocal work, which is just holding the auto digital camera up to the eypiece of the telescope, the focus never works properly on the camera, I look at the teeny screen at the back of the camera and focus the telescope till It looks in focus, which it never is, then I adjust the telescope focus in tiny increments, then take about 4-6 pics at each increment, totaling about 60 shots for each good one, it is really just a crap shoot. Check out Annas site at My Only Photo, she has a real good discription of how to take moon photos.

Anna said...

Bob, these are really great photos of the Moon, I really like the yellow one, but all of them blew me away - great job. Thank you so much for linking me, appreciated. Someone on my blog mention that the next moon is the Hunter's Moon, I guess will be going hunting, lol next month. BTW I also enjoyed reading your post, just in case you think I am looking at the photos only, lol. The bottom line is that I have learned so much from your blog this year, and from you that sometimes I feel like moon expert, lol. Anna :) PS rainbow photo is very nice toooooo....

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Anna! I'm glad you and others are picking stuff up, it's fun to tell someone about your passion, but even better when they catch the excitement as well.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...


WOOT!!! to the moon photos and rainbow shot. :D Thanks for the explanation of why it's called the Harvest Moon. I thought perhaps it was a celebration of the harvest.

Hugs, JJ

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks JJ, you're welcome, glad you know about the Harvest Moon now.

Tatiana said...

Wow Bob, such a beautiful moon shots you were able to take again! And I haven't as yet been able to get any nice shots of it, but I will, at an other time, ever, I hope :)

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Tatiana, It took a lot of practice and literally 100's of pictures to get some decent ones, practice makes perfect. I'm just starting to try to image Saturn and Mars, both not as easy as you would think, both require tons of magnification to show any detail, therefore they tend to drift in the field of view of the eyepiece or ccd chip unless your scope is set up perfectly, all this coupled with settings on the computer,oh and the weather has to be above the operating temp of the scope and computer, in Saskatoon thats asking a lot,lol

Vic Grace said...

Unfortunately we have had a lot of cloud lately and I missed the moon.

Bob Johnson said...

Hi vic grace, don't worry maybe you can catch the Hunter's Moon in October, or the Beaver Moon in November, lol

DrowseyMonkey said...

Love, love, love these photos Bob! Makes me think of Neil Young's wonderful song Harvest Moon, one of my favs. I'm going back now to look at the pics some more. Thanks!

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks drowseymonkey!, I have Niel Young's Harvest Moon cd, as well as Harvest, he likes the word harvest, love them both, glad you like the pics.

Scruffyhippo said...

Not had much time to comment recently but so glad I found the time to pop in today, brilliant pictures Bob :) I suppose you have guessed by now I love moon pictures.

Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Peter, glad you like the pics,Moon pics are my favorite as well, thanks for dropping by.

Lisa McGlaun said...

As a child, my father would always drag me outside to see the Harvest Moon. I used to think it was an annoying habit of his. Now I know he was sharing something wonderful with his daughter.

Your photos are spectacular.


Bob Johnson said...

Thanks Lisa!

Bill said...

Wow those are cool pics. I especially like the rainbow. There was a rainbow here in Ocala, Florida that very same day. I tried to get a picture of it but I was driving in the middle of traffic and the rainbow disappeared by the time I could stop. I call my photographer friend Jimmy that evening and suggested he take some pics of the moon but he was in the hospital. He had a work related accident that day. He was carrying a piece of glass and it broke in half and cut his neck real bad. He's much better now though.

Bob Johnson said...

Ouch! too bad about your friend Bill, the rainbow did't last too long about 10 mins, they come and go real fast.

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