It was clear last night, albeit with below average seeing, with the nearly full moon was up, and it was cold. I wondered how to best take advantage of these conditions. The nearly full moon was already out, so galaxies and nebula were out. I would have liked to collect some RGB data to add to M67, but both it and the Moon are in Cancer, so that was out. I didn’t want to sit in the cold at the scope to polar align so that I could shoot a star cluster somewhere else in the sky. The moon was the only thing left that interested me, so ducked out to shoot that real fast.

The temperature was 24 degrees, the wind had died down, and there was no threat of dew.

I went out at 1715 to put the ASI178 on the back of the telescope and power it up and slewed to the moon, which I could easily see through the trees. I did not polar or star align. The moon was right where it needed to be in the flip mirror eyepiece, so I felt confident that I would be able to easily find it on the Firecapture display when I came back. I went inside to wait for it to rise above the treetops (about 40d elevation).

At 1930 I went back out to for the capture session. I started by looking in the eyepiece hoping to see the moon still in the eyepiece, but it wasn’t. I spent about two minutes searching for it but couldn’t find it. I did find that I had left the mirror flipped up. I flipped the mirror down and re-slewed to the moon, and found it in the eyepiece, and right where it needed to be to show up on the sensor. That was my only “fumble” and I only wasted about two minutes on this evolution.

I captured the full disk in seven captures of 500 frames each without any problems. I probably could have got it covered in less than 7 panels, but I did not want to risk missing part of the disk.

I parked and powered down the scope and went back inside. From start to finish I was outside for fifteen minutes for the capture session.

Room for improvement: I did not remember to write down my exposure settings. Also, I wanted to capture in 16-bits to see if that would help with the gold-rimmed craters/color noise, but the setting was not available for me. I need to research that, but I suspect that the ASI178 does not have a 16-bit mode. And finally, if I had remembered to square the sensor frame with the Ra and Dec axes, I could have worried less about missing part of the lunar disk. This alignment would have been best done when in the daylight vs. in the cold dark night.

The Moon - 2022-02-15 05:52 UTC
The Moon

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