Monday, April 27, 2009

An Experiment with Earthshine

After a day of very heavy rain and storms, the clouds miraculously disappeared at about 9:00PM tonight. A young crescent moon sat low in the Western sky, and I couldn't resist the urge to try out a bit of a test.

I had read about folks taking images of lunar features when the cresent moon in relatively young, and there is prominent Earthshine. This is when light from the sun is reflected from the Earth onto the night-side of the moon. It's only really visible shortly before and after the New Moon. Anyway, it looked fairly prominent tonight so I thought I'd give it a shot.

The photo below is the best of the series. I mounted my 66mm Petzval onto my rather flimsy camera tripod and shot away. You can see some detail here, and Copernicus seems to stand out fairly well. Probably better to try this with my 8".

The trick was to make sure I got as much detail as possible on the night side of the day/night terminator. You will sacrifice detail on the day side, obviously, so expect to see a lot of brightness exude from the day side of the moon when attempting this. I took a series of shots, messing with ISO settings and shutter speed, zooming in to check my focus with each shot as well.

Image Details:
  • William Optics 66mm mounted on el cheapo alt-az camera tripod
  • Nikon D40 DSLR
  • 2 second exposure at ISO1600

1 comment:

Polaris B said...

Very nice, Phil!