The Moon should be the first thing you look at the day you get to peer through a telescope. It should also be the first thing you photograph. However don’t wait for a Full Moon. Sure a large round moon over the horizon can be breathtaking, but most of the subtle details of the lunar surface disappear under a Full Moon. The lack of shadows blends away the peaks and valleys, crevasses and ridges. It is really this dance of light and shadows that makes the craters stand out.
Click on the image below for full resolution.
Lights and shadows….
The photo above is a single shot with Skywatcher 80ED telescope and Canon 80D (ISO 200, 1/125s)
Wavelet analysis with Registax.
After a weeks of clouds, rain and even snow, I finally get a sunny weekend without a cloud in the sky. With the warmer temperatures, time to take the telescope out. Unfortunately no significant sunspot happening on April 21. Just a small region (AR2706) on the western part of the sun.
Canon 80D (ISO 100, 1/400s)
Skywatcher 80ED (80mm F/7.5)
Sun with sunspot AR2706 (21-apr-2018). Benoit Guertin
The Beehive cluster, also known as Messier 44 (M44) is one of the nearest open clusters, and therefore one of the largest in the night sky. While open clusters are often too dim to be seen with the naked eye, all you need is a pair of binoculars or a camera with long exposure to see it.
What makes this weekend special is that in the night of the 22nd to 23rd of April, the Moon will pass within 1-1/2 degrees of this cluster. So finding it will be child’s play.
Messier 44 – Open Cluster Benoit Guertin
On April 22nd, simply look for the Moon once the sky is dark, and just above it you will find the Beehive cluster with its 1000+ stars. OK, even with a telescope you won’t be able to see all the stars, but take some time to notice how this group of stars stands out with regards to background stars further away in our galaxy. And while you are at it, consider that nearly 410 years ago, Galileo made the first observation of these stars.
From there you can also hop over a to the west and observe the color difference in bright stars Castor and Pollux in the Constellation Gemini. And if you instead decide to go east, the smaller Messier 67 open cluster is also accessible with binoculars.