Our Solar System

The moon has fascinated me since I was a young boy.  That was back when the "space race" was heating up and landing on the moon was the prize.  Unmanned probes were being sent to the moon to photograph the surface - helping to select possible landing sites.  On clear nights I could always be found in the backyard peering through my small telescope at the moon's craters and "seas".  As a high school graduation present my mother arranged for me to travel to Cape Kennedy to watch the Apollo 15 lunar mission blast off.  While attending a parade the day before the launch I was able to meet Apollo 14 lunar module pilot Edgar Mitchell.  It was a fascinating time to grow up....

 

The fascination continues to this day and I hope the images below help stir your imagination as well.

This large solar prominence was photographed on March 28, 2016.

 

Using a solar ruler (Regle Solaire) this prominence appears to reach over 100,000 km (62,000 miles) in height.

 

Taken through my Esprit 120 using a Quark Chromosphere filter.  The camera was a Point Grey Chameleon. 

This view of the solar surface was taken on March 20, 2016 and shows prominences erupting near the solar limb.

 

Image taken through an AT65EDQ with a Quark Chromosphere filter.  Camera was a Point Grey Chameleon.  The best 100 out of 1000 images were used.

Portion of AR 2497
Portion of AR 2497

An image taken of the solar surface on February 11, 2016 showing part of AR 2497.

 

This image was taken through my Esprit 120 using a Quark Chromosphere (hydrogen alpha) filter.  The camera used was the Point Grey Chameleon.  The best 100 frames out of 1000 were used.

3 day old moon
3 day old moon

This is a five panel mosaic of the three day old crescent moon.

AR 2497
AR 2497

Solar active region 2497 - February 13 2016

Solar prominence
Solar prominence

Solar prominence taken on February 7, 2016 - 19:39 UT

Comet Lovejoy
Comet Lovejoy

 Comet Lovejoy taken on January 30, 2015.  This was a single 120s exposure taken with the Atik 460ex through the William Optics Star71.

This image of Jupiter is my first attempt at planetary imaging.  Due to the planet's rate of rotation special software (WinJupos, etc) must be used when stacking images in the processing phase. 

 

This image is the result of the best 75% of approximately 8000 sub exposures taken on March 31, 2015.  Processing was done in AutoStakkert 2, WinJupos, Pixinsight and Photoshop.

Lunar eclipse - April 15, 2014
Lunar eclipse - April 15, 2014

This image shows the sequence of the lunar eclipse on April 15, 2014.  Some refer to this eclipse as the "blood moon" due to the red/copper hues.  The reason for this color is that some light from the sun still shines through the earth's atmosphere during the eclipse.  It is the red light that is better able to penetrate creating the "blood moon" effect.

 

Exposures began around 1am and concluded at 5 am.  Images arranged clockwise starting at top. Vixen VC200L 1280mm f/6.4 - Canon500D (IR modified).  Exposures ranged from 1/500s to 10s @ ISO 100.

Copernicus
Copernicus

Crater Copernicus is one of the moon's most photographed features.  It has a diameter of 58 miles.  The walls of the crater are tiered, resembling steps to the floor of the crater 2.4 miles below the rim crest.  Peaked mountains rise from the center of the crater to a height of 2600 feet.  it is a classic example of a relatively "young", well preserved lunar impact crater.

Waning crescent moon
Waning crescent moon

A waning crescent moon is the last "sliver like" phase before the new moon.  This image has always been one of my personal favorites.  To me it conveys the vast emptiness and coldness of space.

Sea of Rains
Sea of Rains

The Sea of Rains takes up the bottom half of this image with the Bay of Rainbows to the left.  This "bay" is actually a plain of basaltic lava and is surrounded from the northeast to southwest by the Jura Mountains.  Crater Plato lies in the center of this image with a diameter of 61 miles.  Above Plato lies the Sea of Cold with the northern lunar highlands at the top of the image.

Caucasus Mountains
Caucasus Mountains

Crater Aristoteles dominates the top of this image with Eudoxus below and slightly right.   Aristoteles is a magnificent ring plain 60 miles in diameter surrounded by peaks rising nearly 11,000 feet above the floor of the crater.  The Caucasus Mountain range can be see in the lower center.  To the right of this mountain rainge is the Sea of Serenity and on the left is the Sea of Rains.

Lunar Mosaic
Lunar Mosaic

This lunar mosaic is the combination of 21 separate images merged together and shows the waxing crescent at 30% visible and 5 days old.  The "5 days old" refers to the number of days after the new moon.

 

 

Lunar south pole
Lunar south pole

This image has been inverted (south is up) to show the rugged southern highlands that surround the lunar south pole.  Crater Clavius is dominant in the center of this image.  With a diameter of 136 miles it is the third largest crater on the visible side of the moon.  Note the curving chain of newer impact craters on the floor of Clavius.

Aristoteles and the Sea of Cold
Aristoteles and the Sea of Cold

Crater Aristoteles can also be seen in this image near the bottom center with Plato partially visible half way up on the left edge.  Above Aristoteles is the Sea of Cold and the rugged northern highlands.

Lunar mosaic
Lunar mosaic

This mosaic contains 32 separate images and shows the first quarter moon on September 13, 2013.  The moon was 60% visible and 8 days old. 

 

 

 

Sea of Clouds
Sea of Clouds

This area of the moon lies just south of the lunar equator.  On the right side of the image you see three larger craters forming a line.  They are (from top to bottom): Ptolemaeus, Alphonsus and Arzachel.  An unmanned U.S. space research vehicle (Ranger 9) impacted Alphonsus in March, 1965.  To the left of these craters lies the Sea of Clouds.  The dark and deep crater you see in the lower left is Bullialdus.The Apollo 12 astronauts landed at Fra-Mauro (November 1969) in the upper left corner of this image.

Sea of Crises
Sea of Crises

This region lies just north of the lunar equator nearing the east side of the moon.  The area on the right side that appears to be a large dark crater is actually a lunar mare, or "sea" - the Sea of Crises.  To the left is an area called the Marsh of Sleep with the Sea of Tranquility taking up the left side of the image.  The large crater above the Sea of Crises is Cleomedes.

Langrenus and Petavius
Langrenus and Petavius

Along the curved right edge of the illuminated lunar surface you will see two prominent craters.  The top one is Langrenus and the lower one (with prominent mountains illuminated in the center) is Petavius.  These mountain peaks rise 5500 feet above the floor of Petavius. To the left of these craters is the Sea of Fertility and the Sea of Nectar is visible in the upper left corner.

Southern highlands
Southern highlands

A view of the rugged southern highlands in the southeast quadrant.

Lunar Mosaic
Lunar Mosaic

A mosiac of 28 images showing the moon's last quarter with 57% of the surface visible. 

Central Bay
Central Bay

This image straddles the moon's equator.  In the lower left are craters Ptolemaeus and Alphonsus while in the upper right the Sea of Tranquility becomes visible.  The "flat" area in the upper center is Central Bay (Sinus Medii) with the well defined crater Triesnecker in it's center.  You can see the lunar rilles, or valleys, in the upper right portion of the image. How these rilles formed is still being debated but the "standard theory" today states that sinuous rilles were created by lava either flowing across the surface OR beneath the surface to form a lava tube, portions of which eventually collapsed.

Apennine mountain range
Apennine mountain range

The Apennines are a rugged mountain range that stretch from crater Eratosthenes (left center of this image) 300 miles to the northeast.  This range features several prominent peaks - at least three of which are over 15,000 feet.  Mount Huygens is estimated to be 18,500 feet in height.  The Apollo 15 expedition landed at the base of these mountains (near the northeast end) in 1971.

Bullialdus and the Sea of Clouds
Bullialdus and the Sea of Clouds

Crater Bullialdus can be seen just above and right of center surrounded by the Sea of Clouds.  The Sea of Moisture is at the left center.

Tycho and the southern highlands
Tycho and the southern highlands

Craters Tycho (above and left of center) and Clavius (below and left of center) dominate the southern lunar highlands.  Tycho is one of the most prominent craters on the moon.  It is 52 miles across, 3 miles deep with a central peak rising 7300 feet above the floor of the crater.  The impactor (asteroid that formed the crater) is estimated to have been over 5 miles in diameter.

North central lunar region
North central lunar region

An image of the north central portion of the moon with the Apennine and Caucasus mountain ranges, craters Plato (upper left), Aristoteles and Eudoxus (right center).  The Sea of Serenity lies in the lower right while the Seal of Rains is on the left.

Lunar seas
Lunar seas

A view nearing the northeast region of the moon.  At the left (and slightly above center) are craters Aristoteles and Eudoxus.  To the right of these craters is the Sea of Cold.  The two craters just right and below center are Atlas and Hercules.  The large crater on the right that is partially in darkness is Endymion which is 76 miles in diameter.  The Lake of Death and the Lake of Dreams are seen in the bottom portion of this image.

North central region
North central region

The north central area of the moon is a fascinating area.  In the lower left is the Bay of Rainbows which borders the Sea of Rains with crater Plato residing above them.  Further north is the Sea of Cold and eventually the northern highlands.

Arzachel
Arzachel

The steeply terraced walls of crater Arzachel are visible at the upper left.  Arzachel is 59 miles across and over 2 miles deep.  The central peak rises almost 5000 feet above the floor of the crater. 

Copenicus and the Carpathian mountains
Copenicus and the Carpathian mountains

Copernicus dominates this view with much smaller Kepler at the left center.  To the upper right is Eratosthenes with the beginning of the Apennine mountain range.  The Carpathian mountains are just above Copernicus.

Lunar sunrise with Clavius
Lunar sunrise with Clavius

Crater Clavius at lunar sunrise.


Meadowlark Ridge Observatory
Meadowlark Ridge Observatory