Moon – October 6th, 2016


Quick picture of the Moon with the telescope balanced on a railing.  Didn’t trouble getting the mount out.

Moon - October 6th, 2016 - Benoît Guertin

Moon – October 6th, 2016 – Benoît Guertin

October 5th 2016 – Mars, Saturn and the Moon


Didn’t have the luxury to scout a better setting to frame the picture.  In the street was actually better than my backyard with all the electric and utility poles/wires.  But nevertheless took a few minutes to frame the scene down the street while standing under a street light.  Click on the image to expand.

October 5th, 2016 - Mars, Saturn and the Crescent Moon

October 5th, 2016 – Mars, Saturn and the Crescent Moon

Almost in the same horizontal plane, you have Mars on the left and Saturn close to the Moon.

As it wasn’t fully dark yet, and I was on a tripod the exposure was rather short: 1/2sec at ISO 400.  Hence no rich star field this time around.  But you do see some of the bright stars such as Antares below Saturn.  Below is an overlay with a star chart.

Overlay with star chart - October 5th, 2016

Overlay with star chart – October 5th, 2016

If you missed it, there is still tomorrow… the Moon will have moved to a position above Saturn.

October 5th 2016 Photo Opportunity 

Great photographic opportunity tonight and tomorrow with a crescent Moon near Saturn in the early evening sky.  Mars is also visible a bit further east and if you have a clear view of the horizon you may catch a glimpse of Venus before it sets.

Octobre 5th 2016 Southwest Evening Sky

Octobre 5th 2016 Southwest Evening Sky (


2016 Harvest Moon


A Full Moon near the autumn equinox?  Well that’s a Harvest Moon.  While the Moon over the horizon can look rather large, there’s some disagreement whether the 2016 Harvest Moon should also be a Super Moon.  I’ll let them sort it out while I snap a few pictures…

2016 Harvest Moon - Benoit Guertin

2016 Harvest Moon – Benoit Guertin

Photo details:
Combined a short and long exposure with Canon XTi
85mm F5.6 1/250sec (ISO200)
61mm F5.6 0.5sec (ISO400)

Nearly Full Moon – May 20th


Stepped outside to have a beer on this warm spring evening while the kids played when over the rooftop I see this wonderful Moon in the still blue sky.  Just had to run inside, and grab my camera, telephoto lens and tripod to take a few frames.

Nearly full moon rising over rooftop  - May 20th, 2016

Nearly full moon rising over rooftop – May 20th, 2016

After fiddling with the settings, I realized the tripod was probably not required. This shot was taken at ISO 200 1/200 sec with the zoom lens at 110mm F7.1

The Full Moon is tomorrow : May 21st.

Moon – Not Waiting for Dark Skies


There’s no need to wait for dark skies to observe and photograph the Moon.  Actually most backyard astronomer don’t like the Moon as it just adds to the light pollution and prefer observing when it’s not around.

But as the Sun is setting and you’re getting your gear out, it’s hard not to take a few moments to swing the telescope over and observe the Moon.  I find the Moon so bright during the night that it almost blinds at the telescope, hence observing it under still blue skies is a great way to observe details without having to squint under darkness.  The photo below as taken at 7pm, still not under dark sky conditions.

April 15th, 2016 Moon - Benoit Guertin

April 15th, 2016 Moon – Benoit Guertin

Skywatcher 80ED
Canon 400D (ISO 400) 1/800sec
Processing with Registax6
Adding wavelet and non-wavelet layers with GIMP

The wavelet processing in Registax greatly increased the finer details on the Moon, however it also increased the noise in the blue sky background.  Therefore I opened both the pre and post wavelet pictures in GIMP and created a mask such that on the wavelet layer, only the lunar surface passed.  This was done by creating a mask based on alpha (luminance) and using BLUR to flag the entire Moon as my area of interest that I wanted to pass through.

Changes in Lunar Size


While doing some organization in my astrophotos I came across a picture composition that I created back in September 2015 following the Super Moon Lunar Eclipse, but which I never posted.

I had selected two Lunar Eclipse photos that I had taken with the exact same equipment, but on different year and wanted to see the difference in size with this “Super Moon”.  Was it really that much bigger…

Lunar Size Comparison Between February 2008 and September 2015 Lunar Eclipse

Lunar Size Comparison Between February 2008 and September 2015 Lunar Eclipse
– Benoit Guertin

The Moon’s orbit is elliptical and eccentric which causes the Moon’s distance to vary by 50,200km from perigee (closest) to apogee (furthest).  The end result is a 12% change in apparent diameter as viewed from Earth.  The above image only shows a 7% difference as while the background Moon was taken at perigee (famed Super Moon) the foreground was an arbitrary reference of the February 2008 lunar eclipse.

Telescope: Skywatcher 80ED (600mm)

Time Lapse Video of Lunar Eclipse


Stitched together the 330 photos of the September 27th Lunar Eclipse into a video.

A few things to note.  The Moon “jumps” a few times in the video, and I now realize that it’s due to my presence on the wooden deck is sufficient to cause the telescope to shift ever slightly.  Also I didn’t really take time for proper polar alignment, I was a good 5deg off and had to re-align during the total eclipse because the tracking was not perfect.  And last, some cloud cover rolled in so I wasn’t able to capture the tail end of the eclipse.

Nevertheless, still much better than the few frames I captured back in 2008.

For the curious of the camera setting.  The start with the full moon is taken at ISO 200 1/320sec and then increased up to 3.2sec exposures at ISO 400 during the eclipse.

“Super” Moon Just Prior to the Eclipse


On September 27th, there wasn’t just a lunar eclipse… There was a large magnificent full moon in the sky.  Therefore once I had all my gear setup and ready for the show, I decided to snap a few frames before the start of the eclipse.

The sky was wonderfully clear and the seeing great.  Through the telescope I noticed very little turbulence in the air.  Below is a stack of 11 frames, to which I adjusted the color, the levels and played with the wavelets sharpening to get some detail out of the lunar surface.

Click on the photo for a full resolution version.

September 27th Full Moon

September 27th Full Moon

SuperMoon Lunar Eclipse This Sunday


I quick reminder of the SuperMoon lunar eclipse this Sunday.  The next time that a lunar eclipse coincides with the Moon’s closest approach will be 2033.  So recharge your camera and get your tripod out of the closet to record the event.

CBC News has provided the viewing times for different parts of Canada.