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Lunar Imaging with the DMK 41AU02

Ed HahnenbergOn the afternoons of  Dec. 18th and 19th, in broad daylight around 3:00 pm or so, the skies cleared so I was able to experiment with my new camera, DMK 41AU02, a monochrome CCD unit. I attached it as a straight-through imager to my 14” Celestron scope. The moon was nearly at quarter-moon waxing and it was visible against a blue sky.

Ordinarily one would image the moon when darkness sets in, but Imaging Source provides software which allows one to adjust the camera to almost any length of exposure time, along with the all-important gain control. The IC software allows for taking avi files, which are, in reality, movie clips. I used a clip of 1 minute to 1.5 minutes. At the rate of capture for the DMK 41AU02, it downloads 15 images per second. I took three avis of different areas of the moon, so I had from 1,000 to 1,500 images which I could align, stack, and discard all but the best images of each video clip using Registax 6. It’s amazing when the camera shows “live” pictures, how much the image moves … this because the “transparency” was poor. Transparency is a term used to indicate that there is moisture in the air. As I explained in a prior post on imaging Jupiter, it’s like taking a picture under water of something above the surface. So, if several factors are all present (no clouds, excellent transparency, and excellent “seeing”), one can get a clearer image.

However, I explored the moon from limb to limb, taking snapshots and avi files. Here are some samples:

The first is an image showing a large lunar sea…left… (Mare Serenitatis) on the southern limb taken Dec. 18th. You can see Crater Posidonius, center bottom.

 

The next two were taken the following day. I was looking for unique crater formations. In picture one below, the predominant crater is Theophilus, which rises almost 4600′. It has four peaks. It is a newer crater which, as you can see,  wiped out one of the walls of crater Cyrillus.

 

The image below shows Crater Piccolomini (top to the right), whose central peak rises over 6500′.

I did not reverse the images, and it is a bit tricky identifying the craters, since the shadows cast by the sun have to be at the moon’s phase for that hour. Some online images were helpful. Click on any image for a larger view.

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