Lunar images with a half-meter scope – August/September 2015

At the end of August and beginning of September, Adrian Sonka invited me for some imaging sessions at the Astronomical Institute of the Romanian Academy, placed in Bucharest.

Usually, I would refuse any type of astronomical imaging from inside large towns due to light pollution and bad seeing conditions that are a trademark for such locations, but this time the size of the scope which we were to use was all that it took to lure me towards the capital of Romania. The telescope itself is a half-meter (500mm, F/15) Cassegrain, placed well inside the Observatory’s yard, surrounded by enough trees to be partially shaded from light pollution and local seeing variations.

The very first session occurred on August 25th, with Saturn and the Moon placed rather low in the sky, but with some of the best seeing conditions that Bucharest has ever allowed.

Following are two views of Saturn, in both Red light and RGB color, with some fine details visible, like the Encke division. At the moment of the imaging session, Saturn was only 25 to 28 degrees above the horizon!

SaturnAugust25, 2015.jpg

Next, a detailed view of crater Clavius, with some image distortion due to the low altitude of the Moon.

clavius.jpg

And another two well-known craters, Copernicus and Plato, with the Moon low above the horizon:

copernicus plato.jpg

Following are some image-pairs from the next few lunar imaging sessions, all under poor seeing conditions:

hercules atlas proclus.jpg

hesiodus rupes recta.jpg

gassendi cleomedes.jpg

messala petavius.jpg

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