Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sea of Fecundity

I usually insert some sort of caveat when I write about star-gazing, about how the picture is from NASA and the view through my scope is not nearly as detailed. But not this time; below is an actual photograph of the moon taken through the lens of the scope.

Cool, huh?

The main drawback of my big, dumb, cheap Dobsonian is that you can't do much in the way of astro-photography with it, in that it has no motor to drive the scope and keep it aligned with the ever-moving skyscape. But with bright stuff - like the moon - you can simply stick a camera over the lens, turn off the flash, and snap away. Which is what I did. This was taken with my lowest power lens and my brand new toy: an adjustable polarizing filter, which is two pieces of polarized glass that, when one is turned, increase or decreases the amount of light to pass through. It's like sunglasses for your telescope. Very fun to play with.

I'm having trouble aligning the features of the picture with on-line moon maps (click on the map above to play at home), but I'm pretty sure the dramatic crater on the left, with all the radial line running from it, is Copernicus. The smooth circular areas in the upper right are, I think, the Sea of Serenity on the left and the Sea of Tranquility just to the right. The Sea of Tranquility is where man first landed on the moon. Just below and to the right of those two circles is my favorite lunar feature name to date: the Sea of Fecundity.

Here's another shot:

I lie this one because it looks so surreal and dreamlike. It reminds me of the special effects of a low-budget 50s sci-fi flick.


meno said...

Fecund is one of my favorite words to say.

I find something odd about us humans taking a celestial orb and naming every bump and cranny on it.

Irrelephant said...

Dude, that is EXCELLENTLY cool! Stellar photography. Very nice. And excellent photos, by the way!

Are not polarizing filters the cat's pajamas? I found out about them when I first got back into photography big, and wouldn't DREAM of setting foot outside without one now. I've turned water 'invisible,' made ordinary skies into fiercely blue creations and brought out tones that fill, heighten impact and otherwise make me giggle like a schoolgirl after hearing the word "fecund."

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Keep shooting!!!

That's fantastic!
I am very excited for you, and proud of you.

Next thing you know, your photos will be on NASA's photo of the day, and I can say that I knew you when.

Kind of.



I have about 15 favorites on the moon... Tycho, Endymion, Sea of Tranquility, Sea of Serenity, and several more... including the other side; have you found satellite images of the other side? The dark side?

One of my friends tried to convince me to go to the dark side. I might, she said they have cookies.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

paula said...

Wow! Fantastic. Coming to your site makes me feel smarter and more spiritual. Really.

Victoria Gothic said...

Now that's some cool stuff. Its not hard to be in awe of the pictures NASA can take, but there's something special about the pictures you get yourself. Its like the difference between pictures of your family and... some other guys family. I was once chilling outside with the guys, and I seriously thought the moon was going to fall out of the sky and hit me, and as it 'fell' closer, it grew more and more detailed, until it looked kinda like your second picture. And then it was back in the sky. It was fun.

Clowncar said...

Fecund is a lovely word, Meno. Though it apparently makes Irrelephant giggle like a schoolgirl. And I agree it's odd to name everything, but since I wast to now the name of everything, I'm rather odd myself.

Irr, I know nothing about photography. I was just happy it wasn't a big white blob. And the polarizing filters are great - can't wait to try them out on the planets!

Scarlet, I know perhaps 5 structures on the moon. Tycho is my favorite, cuz of 2001, of course. And cuz of the real Tycho, Tycho Brahe, who had a silver nose. Was I right about Copernicus? Is that the big crater in the pic?

Hey, Paula, good to see you again. I felt more spiritual and smarter after reading your post "More pee and some barf." Yum!

Been there, Vic, sorta. One time I woke up from a deep sleep and found myself staring at a streetlamp, and I was convinced it was a giant meteor heading straight toward Earth. After a scary 10 seconds or so I woke all thw way up.