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98.4% Moon (2018mar03)

Moon at 98.4% phase Moon at 98.4% phase ©2018 Frederick Steiling
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Full resolution
Target Information
Main Target Designation(s) 98.4% Full Moon
Date(s) of acquisition 03Mar2018
Location Warrenton, MO
GPS 38°49'28.7"N 91°08'20.9"W
Capture resolution 1280x960 (6-panels)
Luminance (6 panels)
Video Source 240" at 0.450ms / 23fps
Gain 0%
Stack (surface) 15%
Red (6 panels)
Video source 90" at 1.325ms / 23fps
Gain 0%
Stack 25%
Green (6 panels)
Video source 90" at 1.660ms / 23fps
Gain 0%
Stack 25%
Blue (6 panels)
Video source 90" at 1.400ms / 23fps
Gain 0%
Stack 25%
Imager ASI120MM
Filters ZWO 1.25" LRGB
Telescope/Lens Orion 8" f/3.9 Astrograph
Focal Length 800mm (f/3.9)
Mount Celestron CGEM
Focuser Moonlite 2" CR
Focusing Moonlite V2 Controller
Acquisition FireCapture 2.5
Guiding FireCapture 2.5
Processing AutoStakkert 3, PixInsight 1.8, Photoshop CC

With all the clear sky time we've had around a high moon lately, I really couldn't resist taking full advantage and knocking some stuff off of my "lunar bucket list".  In this photo, we have a plain ol' full moon... except with a few attempts to spice up the capture a bit.  Normally I'd capture a full moon with my Olympus E-P5, which can fit the entire moon in its field of view at this 800mm focal length.  However, this time I've instead used my planetary camera in an attempt to get a bit more resolution out of the many lunar details available in full light.  As a result, we have this image in full color, the result of a lot of processing teasing to seamlessly stitch together 6 different frames.

Two remarkable features generally stand out in this photo beyond the added lunar detail.  First, a glimpse at the full moon in color gives a real sense as to the material division in various lava flows in the lunar Mare and Sinus features, a distinction indicative of different iron, titanium, and magnesium compositions.  Second, we can make out grand ray traces from major impacts, namely from Tycho toward the lunar south and Copernicus at the west-center.  These ray traces really give some perspective on how massive these impacts must have been.

As photographers we sometimes shy away from the full moon for imaging because the lack of shadows in place of direct light tends to wash out otherwise marvelous crater and mountain features.  However, this full light image proves that some alternative views can still bestow fascinating sights from our nearest neighbor.

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