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Basic Lunar Imaging

Why should a lunar student image the Moon? This is a legitimate question in light of spacecraft images freely obtainable for study whose quality as to detail generally surpasses any that can be made from the surface of this planet.

The reasons are several! For advanced imagers using large format CCD's wth incredible image scale and linked to large aperture imaging systems capable of exposures so short that they can actually penetrate the nominal seeing conditions by a factor of five, the reason is the ability of the amateur to accumulate high quality images at resolutions good enough to reveal topographic details that even orbiter images do not reveal, especially those of low elevation, thanks to the wide variety of differing illuminations they are able to capture andlater interpret. This is why in the previous paragraph I qualified that last statement with "generally"!

But for the rest of us, possessed of modest equipment not capable of "discovery-level" resolution of surface detail, there remain what I feel are very legitimate reasons to make an imaging effort. One is to record what you actually observed at a particular moment in time (a justification which imagers shares with sketchers)---what amounts to a virtually unique level and angle of illumination that will not be duplicated again until around 18 more years have passed!! This makes every image you obtain something virtually unique--and may show certain features in a light in which no other accessable image illustrates. Two is that, again similiar to drawing an area, imaging it 'makes it your own' so-to-speak and can serve--if you allow it--to focus your attention upon a particular area of the surface for study--and interpretation--to a degree one may not be so motivated towards while using someone else's images! In short your images can serve as a learning tool, directing and enabling one towards more rigerous, leisurely examination of more areas observed than by simply limiting such study to the time spent at the eyepiece alone.

The images you capture are a record, a reference and thus provide a permanent learning rersource you can access for years to come. Topographic studies under varying levels of illumination are still sought after by the organizations allied with the science community, such as the Lunar Sections of the A.L.P.O. and the B.A.A. Both these organizations welcome even modest images of the lunar surface and preserve and catalog those they receive. I encourage you to contribute as you feel comfortable.


Imaging Tutorial

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