John has captured his very first Moon mosaic since he started astronomy in 1957 ! A pinnacle of achievement John, with wonderful detail showing the 3 day old moon with an 8 degree libration angle with Mare Smythii and Mare Marginis clearly visible.
Ever since I started imaging with the Toucam Pro 2 and ETX90, my ambition was to try a mosaic of my favourite subject – the Moon! I always knew this was going to be difficult but Friday the 3rd of March 2006 gave me that opportunity. The sky was clear and the three day old Moon was high in the South West at sunset.
The telescope was already set up to let it cool down, and when the first stars started to appear I looked for Polaris in order to line it up. I needed to set myself a time goal before the Moon started to sink behind nearby houses and into the unsteady air near the horizon.
Everything lined up and ready to go I started to capture at 18:19UT at the South Pole and gradually made my way northwards trying to make sure that the images overlapped. The last capture of nine avi’s was made at 18:44UT some twenty five minutes later and that was the easy part!
Ahead lay several hours of processing as each capture was in the order of 250 – 300 frames, so the finished image would have in access of 2700 frames and 12.2MB in size! All the processed images would then be changed from Tif to Bitmap and assembled in iMerge. This was probably the most difficult part of the processing as every frame had to be exactly matching the one before. Patience is required here which is not one of my greatest talents! However, I persisted with the task and the final result was pleasing, except that I had a “bite” out of the southeast limb……….how frustrating I had missed a bit while capturing, too late now the moon had set!
Or so I thought! All the captured avi’s were dated and named “mosaic” but on checking the images I discovered I had another one labelled differently from the rest and this was the missing piece of the jigsaw. Brilliant! I had reached my goal, but not without its trials and tribulations and a loss of some sleep.
To those wishing to give it a go you need three things, a telescope that’s properly aligned, good clear conditions, and a lot of patience. In saying that, the final result is of a quality not really expected from a 90mm mirror!
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