Monday, April 03, 2006

Moon Occults the Pleiades

On April 1 (no fooling), 2006, I captured these 134 frames of the moon slowly passing through M45. It takes a little patience to load (you want quality, right?), but the 2.25 hours is played back in around 30 seconds! To make this, I took two images every minute, one at 1/400 of a second and one at 1.3 second. (I ended up not using the short exposures, which I took to show better lunar surface details, because I couldn't edit them together as I had imagined.) The camera was my Canon Digital Rebel with ISO set to 400 and high image quality with a Quantaray lens set to 300mm with aperture set to 5.6. I edited each image for levels, brightness/contrast and unsharp mask before cropping and resizing the canvas making sure M45 stayed stationary. Notice that the moon gets obscured by trees in the last few frames as the last star reemerges! (There are also some 15 other photos preceding this batch which I could not use because the sky was still blue, the framing would have cut out the moon if aligned with later frames, the mount was not yet polar aligned, so the image was drifting and would need rotating and nudging, etc., and there is a 5 minute gap where I fixed the alignment for the movie you can currently see!)

Here is a still from the series:


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