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INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF ASTRONOMY: TONIGHT'S MOON

This has been the quietest news week of the year so far for Ross, and so I thought, as 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, that I would photograph tonight's moon. As photographing the moon is far from a straight forward process, I attempted to film myself during the camera and telescope stage of the job.

Below you can watch the hi def version of that film. If you want to watch full screen (button to the right of the progress bar) it is probably best to turn 'scaling off' to show the video actual size (hold mouse top right once in full screen mode).

Sunday, 1st February was a bitterly cold evening with winds buffeting the telescope and a hint of snow in the air, so I am afraid these are not really my best shots at the moon, and I did not cover enough of its surface to make a full mosaic. The photos do however give some idea how the photographing process works. The top 14 still images are video frames, stacked to make a small photo. These can be seen in better detail towards the end of the video.

With such a huge magnification, the field of view is small and it takes many photographs to cover the whole visible surface of even a crescent moon. Each of the smaller photos covers the entire field of the scope. The bottom two photos are mosaics I was able to make from the smaller images.

I hope you find this article interesting. If you like astronomy, a good web site for the International Year of Astronomy is 365daysofastronomy.org, where you can listen to or download a daily astronomy podcast.

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