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Mare Nubium & The Southern Highlands

Mare Nubium & the Southern Highlands Mare Nubium & the Southern Highlands ©2018 Frederick Steiling
Image Links
Full resolution
Full resolution
Lunar Location Full resolution
Target Information
Main Target Designation(s) Mare Nubium, Southern Highland Craters
Date(s) of acquisition 25Jan2018 at 21:32
Location Defiance, MO
Panel 1 (top-left)
L-filtered monochrome 462 x 2ms at 67% gain (270)
Video source 10% of 90" video at 51 fps (avg)
Capture resolution 1936x1216
Panel 2 (top-right)
L-filtered monochrome 493 x 2ms at 67% gain (270)
Video source 10% of 90" video at 54 fps (avg)
Capture resolution 1936x1216
Panel 3 (bottom-left)
L-filtered monochrome 81 x 2ms at 67% gain (270)
Video source 35% of 90" video at 2 fps (avg)
Capture resolution 1936x1216
Panel 4 (bottom-right)
L-filtered monochrome 486 x 2ms at 67% gain (270)
Video source 10% of 90" video at 54 fps (avg)
Capture resolution 1936x1216
Imager ZWO ASI174MM
Telescope/Lens Celestron C14 XLT SCT
Focal Length 3910mm (f/11)
Mount Celestron CGE Pro
Focuser Moonlite CSL
Focusing Moonlite V2 Controller
Acquisition FireCapture 2.5
Guiding None
Processing AutoStakkert 3, Registax 6, PixInsight 1.8, Photoshop CC

This is a promising result from a first-light session at the Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri's C14, now equipped with a Moonlite CSL focuser, mirror locks, and an ASI174MM camera.  Though the atmospheric seeing for this session was typically awful for our region, it was a successful night in verifying the new gear and getting a little data to play with.  The fruits of our labor can be enjoyed in the fascinating southern lunar highlands, littered with craters and leading to the real treat of this mosaic - the dramatic plain of the Mare Nubium.

The Mare Nubium, like all the other lunar "seas", was primarily formed as the result of volcanic eruptions and boasts a dark tone from its iron-rich content.  Being fairly devoid of craters, this "Sea of Clouds" shows some very interesting small ridges, some of which are categorized as "ghost craters", remnants of craters that have disappeared across a landscape that has since been altered.  Some contrast enhancement shows subtle variation in the ground color throughout the plain and reveals some of the hidden beauty of our orbiting neighbor.

Hiking across the Mare Nubium to the southeast, one would eventually be greeted with the unenviable task of scaling through constantly varying terrain and elevation.  Countless craters litter the landscape at the lunar south.  These include the very prominent crater Tycho, an impact remnant with walls towering nearly 4.5 km in height and impact rays tracing more than 1500 kilometers from it.  But even this famous feature is drowned out in a pile of other impacts in this high-resolution photo, some reaching incredible sizes, such as Clavius' 225 km diameter.

The C14's new Moonlite focuser and mirror locks provided immediate improvement over prior sessions with this telescope in the form of more stable focusing.  The new ASI174MM camera also boasts larger pixels than my own ASI120MM, a better match for our atmospheric seeing (which is otherwise oversampled by the 120MM).  Additionally, the 174MM has a nice, large sensor and much higher framerates via USB3, lending to better opportunities to cut through the jet stream and atmospheric waving.  I'm excited to give it another go under slightly better conditions, but for now am thrilled to post a first result and great step forward.

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