Lunar Indulgence   Leave a comment

It’s a thing I’ve always wanted to do, and life has handed me the opportunity to get it started and then see it through. Starting a day past New Moon I’ve been out each night to spend an hours or so observing the Moon with either a 60mm or a 102mm refractor – whichever seemed most expedient on a given night. (The larger telescope has seen the most use so far.) Each night, when the Moon has risen high enough for convenient observation, I put whichever telescope I’m using on an Orion AstroView EQ mount and go out. With the Moon in the eyepiece, I work my way down the lunar terminator from north to south, identifying craters, mountains, rilles, and other features as I go. I call this process a terminator slide. I’ve repeated the process every night, now, starting on April 22nd. (I missed on the 26th due to clouds.) I have revisited many familiar sights during this set of observations, and seen things on the Moon for the first time. One session each night of this lunation, weather permitting. It’s been something of an adventure.

And now the easy part is behind me. Each night the Moon rises above the horizon later, which means I go out ever later to make the next slide. Now that full Moon has passed (the much hyped Super Moon of 2012), I’m pushing midnight before I can get a good look at the Moon. Tonight, as I type these words, I’m waiting for midnight, a lunar witching hour. Past this point I will be on “dawn patrol,” for it will make more sense to get up early than to stay out late.

Amateur astronomers do the strangest things!

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Posted May 7, 2012 by underdesertstars in Amateur Astronomy

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