Sunday, February 14, 2010

Young Moon Captured!

A heavy crop of the below image

The full image at 600mm (960mm equivalent on 1.6x crop 30D). Note how tiny the Moon is.

While many of us take it for granted, seeing the Moon within 24 hours of new is a rare event. How rare is it? So rare that, when I snapped a 19 hour old Moon 4 years ago, it made the front page of Tonight, the scenario repeated itself, but the Moon was even newer, only about .7 days old (about 17 hours) at sunset.

At first I didn't even recognize it for what it was, mistaking it for a wisp of cloud, but I soon realized that I was looking at a sub day old moon when I saw this "cloud" move down instead of up. Nearly knee-deep in snow, I shot this picture with my Canon 30D coupled to my Orion ED80 refractor just before the Moon completely disappeared behind the trees. One image is the full shot while the other is a heavy crop.

Because of the combination of a near vertical ecliptic plane and lack of haze (although not tonight), late winter/early spring is an ideal time for shooting young moons. March will offer another opportunity on the 16th, although the moon will be about 24 hours old at the time. Not nearly as difficult, but still quite spectacular, sky permitting.

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