Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lunar Viewing

Saturday night while I was working up at the Vis we used one of our specialized video cameras mounted on a telescope to project the image of the Moon onto a flat screen TV we keep for such purposes. The moon was not quite to first quarter, and I thought it made a nice picture, which I was able to get with my handy-dandy phone.

Considering this is a picture of an image of the Moon on a TV screen, I think it came out pretty good. I tweaked the contrast levels a bit to make it stand out better, but the amount of detail visible was pretty impressive to begin with. Several of the lunar maria (dark plains of dried lava) are visible, including the isolated Mare Crisium near the lower-right limb of the Moon. ("Mare" [pronounced MAH-ray] is Latin for "sea", and "maria" is the plural. The names came about because early telescope observers didn't know what the dark spots they were seeing through their telescopes were, and assumed that they were seas of water. We now know that they are indeed seas...of dry, hardened, lava, not dissimilar to many of the black lava plains found here on Hawaiʻi.)

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