Monday, July 8, 2013

Earliest possible New Moon captured on camera

The earliest New Moon, captured at the very official instant Tuesday morning, July 8 from Elancourt, France. Inconsistencies in the line of directly reflected sunlight from the Moon's limb is a result of elevation differences, between valley and mountains illuminated at 180° phase [used with permission - Thierry Legault].
Utilizing a Takahashi FSQ-106ED with focal reducer, on a Losmandy Titan equatorial mount, captured with a IDS 3370 monochrome camera (with 2048x2048 CCD), a 850 nm low-pass filter and the NASA JPL Horizon ephemeris, Thierry Legault has broken his own previously held world record in photographing a New Moon from Earth, the most slight crescent Moon yet photographed from Earth's surface.

Not counting the more rare solar eclipse, when the Moon's profile is, quite unmistakable, starkly blocking the disk of the Sun as it passes in its orbit directly through our line of sight, the Moon is usually invisible to the naked eye (and as dangerous to the human eye) at those precise moments when a New Moon occurs.

"From the shooting site," at Elancourt, west-southwest of Versailles, in France, as Thierry posts on his website, "the angular separation between the Moon and the Sun was only 4.4 degrees" of arc (or nine solar diameters). "At this very small separation the Moon's crescent is extremely thin," only a few arc seconds of degree at its maximum, "and, above all, it is drowned in the solar glare, the blue sky being about 400 times brighter than the crescent itself," in the infrared band, "and probably" more than 1000 times brighter in the visible light spectrum. "In order to reduce the glare, the images have been taken in close infrared and a pierced screen, placed just in front of the telescope to prevents sunlight from directly entering the telescope."

View the particulars, HERE.

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