Monday, 8 December 2014

Luna

With space exploration once again hitting the headlines and with talk of the possibility of landing on the Moon again, it was rather appropriate that we were treated to the glorious sight of the Moon as it rose last night.
The major drawback of astronomy at this time of year, is the cold.  To be in with a chance of seeing anything at all, you always need a clear sky and at this time of year, that usually means freezing to death.  So it was a huge relief to be able to get such good views last night, from the comfort of our bedroom window - even if that meant having to contend with a few twigs of the Hawthorn tree getting in the way as in the picture above.
Managing to overcome that difficulty I still managed some fairly decent shots, despite being taken through the double glazing (with gas prices as they are, I wasn't risking opening the window and heating the street).
My camera, although perfectly good for my usual, general photographic needs, is not really equipped for astronomical photography, but in spite of this,  I was rather pleased with the outcome.  Many of the lunar features are perfectly clear and I have listed a very few here...
  • A: the Mare Crisium or Sea of Crises
  • B: The crater Tycho, named after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and measuring over 53 miles across.
  • C: the Mare Serenitatis or Sea of Serenity. On the Eastern edge of this area, both Luna 21 and Apollo 17 landed.
  • D: the bright crater Copernicus.  Some 58 miles across and of course, named after Nicolaus Copernicus.
  • E: the Mare Tranquilitatis or Sea of Tranquility.  This was the landing site for the first manned mission to the moon in 1969 and from where Neil Armstrong said "The Eagle has landed".
  • F:the dark spot of Plato, a lava-filled crater about 68 miles across.
  • G: the very bright crater Aristarchus. This crater is named after Greek astronomer Aristarchus of Samos and is about 25 miles in diameter.
And all that, visible from our bedroom window.  Who would have thought..!?
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