A bright pairing in the evening sky 
Recently it's been exceptionally good for seeing planets in the night sky. Mercury has now sunk out of sight but a few weeks ago you could see that planet plus Venus, Jupiter, Mars, and if you were willing to wait up a few more hours, Saturn - all in the same night.

The recent pairing of Jupiter and Venus even made the TV news since they are two very bright objects in the sky. Here is a more common pairing, that of the crescent moon with Venus. Since Venus is closer to the sun than Earth, when Venus is high in our sky and the moon is in an early phase, they often appear close together after sunset.

When the moon is a slim crescent you will often be able to see the rest of the lunar globe dimly lit by "Earthshine" or the light reflected back from the Earth. Such light has been reflected twice on its journey from the Sun to your eyes - from the Earth to the Moon, then back to you on Earth. This is also known as the Moon's "Ashen Glow", or "The New Moon in the Old Moon's Arms".

This picture was taken with a Canon 300D Digital SLR using a cheap Optomax 300mm lens (found on Ebay for 10). The image was converted from Raw mode using RawDrop, then contrast was tweaked slightly before presentation here. Click the picture to see the full-sized image.


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Tranquility Base 
It may be a long time since I got a decent image of Jupiter (see previous blog entry) but it's even longer since I did one of these. A mosaic of the lunar surface.
This image was composed of four sections covering Mare Tranquilitatis, Mare Crisium, Mare Fecunditatis, and part of Mare Serenitatis.
For each part I captured and stacked 1000 frames using a TouCam Pro on my Orion Optics SPX 250 telescope. Stacking was done in Registax 5, and the mosaic was put together in Jon Grove's relatively ancient but still excellent iMerge.

Click the image to see the full picture.

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