Sunrise over Copernicus

Most people are fascinated by the Moon and its ever changing appearances. And many try to photograph it - and discover that it isn't a too easy target. Further, most start out with the full Moon which isn't the most interesting, photographically speaking, because the Sun is then high on the Lunar sky, shadows are short and comtours are washed out. As a matter of fact, photographs of the Moon when there is a distinct border line ('the terminator') between the Lunar day- and night-sides is much more rewarding.

Secondly, good Lunar photography is difficult because details - apart from the "seas" and larger craters are so very tiny. Much smaller than people normally realize and a decent focal length is required to show any real details.

Thirdly, good atmospheric seeing is of utmost importance. In the wintertime, the air may be very clear, but the stars twinkle (due to atmospheric turbulence) and so do the tiny craters, mountin peaks, rifts and valleys on the Moon! Details will be smeared out, the images appear soft and no sharpening in post-processing will bring out any real detail.


But once in a while, the conditions will be right. The air will be calm, the Moon high in the sky and showing an interesting phase. And then it is the time to grab your longest lens or a small telescope. Elsewhere on this site, you can read about Settings for Lunar photography. In the example above, I have used a small 4" f/10 Vixen Polaris R 100L Newtonanian, a Tamron SP F-series 2X Teleconverter and a Pentax K-5 DSLR to capture the moment when the first rays of sun touch the western rim of crater Copernicus just south of Mare Imbrium - The Sea of Rains. Note also how the Sun low over the horizon, as seen from the Appenine mouintain range (to the south-east of Mare Imbrium) make the shadows long and black and thus, make these mountains look really rugged and "wild". Seven images were stacked in Registax and post-processed in PhotoImpact.

So, move your cursor over the image above, click on thge image and zoom in on Sunrise over Copernicus.

(Also, you may click Here to see the un-cropped lunar image in larger size)







Copyright 2012 - Steen G. Bruun