The Moon is spherical

On November 2nd, I was out with my scope for a lunar imaging session, at my usual observing location just south of Bucharest, Romania. At almost the same moment, another lunar imager was doing the same thing, but 2200km away. His name is Pete Lawrence, award winning astrophotographer, who does his lunar work from Selsey, UK.

Just by chance, posting my own images on the same Facebook Group as Pete, I’ve noticed that his images show the same lunar areas, at the same observing time and with similar resolution. So an idea came to my mind: would it be possible to combine my data with Pete’s and process the images in such a way that a true tridimensional lunar image could result?

The core of the idea was that the Moon, being so close to Earth, exhibits a rather strong parallax effect.

The parallax effect can be easily noticed on images depicting the whole Moon against the background stars, but no such effect was observed, until now, on amateur high magnification images. To accomplish this, the observers must have similar seeing conditions and equipment, and also to observe at the same time. This is, just by chance, what Pete and I did on November 2nd.

So, after some talks with Pete, who offered his images and encouraged me to try and see if any effect is noticeble, I’ve started the work. A bit of processing, resizing, aligning and…WOW:

StruveAnim2frames.gif

The parallax effect is more than obvious! Craters Struve, Russel and Edington show different viewing angles!

Combining the two shots in a 3D analigraph, the result is a bit more interesting.

The following image requires Red/Blue glasses.

HINT: use your mouse and move on the image, this way you will feel the depth of field much more easily 😉

3dMaxPete.jpg

And another area which we’ve both imaged at the same time: crater Pythagoras.

PythagorasAnim2frames.gif

And the 3d analigraph (don’t forget to move the mouse on the image to accommodate your eyes/brain):

Pythagoras3dMaxPete.jpg

As far as I now, this is the first time amateurs succeeded in this kind of imaging (parallax lunar imaging in High Resolution).

Our results show that, indeed, the Moon is spherical 🙂

Next project is to prove that the Earth is not flat :))), but this requires two lunar imagers to go to the Moon, and image our planet from two different lunar locations.  It may take some time to finish the project…

 

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