Friday, February 8, 2008

Moon already back in the evening - but no new sighting records set

Already on the evening (local time) of the same day (universal time) when new moon occured, 3:44 UTC on Feb. 7 according to the USNO, the young lunar crescent was imaged just after sunset in Austin, Texas, where it should have been about 1:20 UTC/Feb. 8 or 21½ hours after new moon. (Later on the 8th the crescent was also captured in daytime from Germany.) Not bad for a direct picture taken 'without tricks' but far from any record: This was most probably set last June by intrepid selenographer Martin Elsässer!

The trick here is to observe in broad daylight, stack many images and perform tough image processing; Elsässer even predicts that the crescent may be imaged at the very moment of new moon when the Moon is at a high absolute ecliptic latitude. Whether this extreme imaging counts as a "sighting" is a different matter. Meanwhile nice timelapse videos of the partial eclipse this new moon brought to New Zealand have been published (another one) as has been a funny report from Oz. Still no word from the expedition that wanted to climb Mt. Vinson in Antarctica to get annularity ...

In other news here's a picture that shows comet Holmes yesterday as it really looks like to the eye in binoculars (dark skies provided) - not nearly as pretty as in high-end astrophotographs. But the comet has moved into a nice neighborhood, so to speak, and Chen-Gao is also there, at 12th mag. From the better late than never dept. here are also another nice view of the Venus-Jupiter-Moon trio of Feb. 4 and a report about airborne Quadrantid observations one month earlier.

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