Our Moon - A great target for observing and lunar imaging!

February 02, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Our natural satellite - our Moon - is truly spectacular!  Without the Moon, our species would have never come to be as we know if today.  The Moon's gravity influences our tides and helps lock the earth's rotation at a rate of spin which is just right.  Our Moon gives us "moon light" which is light reflected from the sun and from our own planet creating "earth shine".

As we stare up at our Moon in the night sky, it reminds us of mankind's greatest achievement -- the Apollo Program -- and our first footprints on another planetary body outside of earth.  I highly recommend that you put some time aside and check out the videos on the American / Soviet space race and our Apollo program during the 1950's and 60's.  It is truly a remarkable piece of history and scientific accomplishment.

Starting your own journey to the Moon is as simple as using a 7X50 or 10X50 binoculars.  Binoculars is a great way to start out in observing and learning the night sky.  These optical wonders provide a nice wide field of view and bright images.  With the Moon being so large and bright, looking through binos is truly amazing.  The best time to observe our Moon is when the Moon's terminator line is present.  The terminator line is present when you see the contrast between the brightly lit side and the dark side meet.  It is at this separation of bright and dark that we call the "terminator" and this is the area to concentrate on when observing with binoculars and/or a telescope.

At the terminator line, you will see an amazing variety of lunar detail such as mountains, craters, rilles, peaks, valleys and so much more in "relief".  The play of light and dark along the terminator line really makes the lunar detail "pop" and if you were to bump up your magnification, it would seem as if you are flying over the lunar terrain in your own lunar spacecraft!

Although lunar imaging is a step up on the learning curve, our Moon makes for an excellent "first target" for budding astro imagers who want to obtain some instant gratification and ignite the astrophotography bug.  Lunar observing with or without lunar imaging can provide a lifetime of joy and amazement as well as education.  Here is a fun project:  Want to find and observe the Apollo lunar landing sites?  Check out this book on amazon:

Apollo Lunar Landing Sites


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