Five-Years Ago (14-September-2013) — New Jersey

Backyard Late Summer Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

[Updated from five-years ago. Added a slideshow with the 25 individual frames extracted from the video.]

Last night the sky was clear, and the waxing gibbous moon (61%) bright, so I set up a couple of cameras with big lenses out on the deck. One of the systems (Nikon D4 camera TC-E III 20 teleconverter and 600 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 400, 1200 mm, f/8, 1/60 sec)) was set to record video (1080p, 30 fps). While reviewing the videos I noticed one with something (a bird?) passing in front of the moon. Played back at 10 fps shows the transit to occur over 25 frames. The bird is not very clear, or in focus relative to the moon. Someday, I want to catch a satellite transiting in front of the moon.


Individual images from the slideshow can be viewed here.

Five-Years Ago (05-March-2012) — New Jersey

Backyard Night Sky over New Jersey.

Waxing Gibbous Moon. Image taken with a Nikon 1 V1 camera, FT1 adapter, and 600 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 600 mm, f/8, 1/100 sec). With this sensor, the field of view (FOV) is equivalent to a 1620 mm lens on a 35 mm DSLR.

Waxing Gibbous Moon. Image taken with a Nikon 1 V1 camera, FT1 adapter, and 600 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 600 mm, f/8, 1/100 sec). With this sensor, the field of view (FOV) is equivalent to a 1620 mm lens on a 35 mm DSLR. (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon. Image taken with a Nikon 1 V1 camera, FT1 adapter, and 600 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 100, 600 mm, f/8, 1/100 sec). With this sensor, the field of view (FOV) is equivalent to a 1620 mm lens on a 35 mm DSLR. (David J Mathre)

Saturday (14-September-2013) — New Jersey

Backyard Late Summer Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

Last night the sky was clear, and the waxing gibbous moon (61%) bright, so I set up a couple of cameras with big lenses out on the deck. One of the systems (Nikon D4 camera TC-E III 20 teleconverter and 600 mm f/4 VR lens (ISO 400, 1200 mm, f/8, 1/60 sec)) was set to record video (1080p, 30 fps). While reviewing the videos I noticed one with something (a bird?) passing in front of the moon. Played back at 10 fps shows the transit to occur over 25 frames.

Friday (04-November-2011) — New Jersey

Backyard Astronomy in New Jersey: Sun and Moon

The sky was clear so I took my telescope out. First to see the big sunspot (AR 1339), and then later the waxing gibbous moon. The Questar telescope comes with a solar filter to safely view the sun and sunspots.

Sun with Sunspot AR 1339. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and Questar 7" telescope (ISO 400, ~2500 mm, f/16, 1/2000 sec). (David J Mathre)
Sun with Sunspot AR 1339. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and Questar 7″ telescope (ISO 400, ~2500 mm, f/16, 1/2000 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (69%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and Questar 7" telescope (ISO 400, ~2500 mm, f/16, 1/200 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (69%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and Questar 7″ telescope (ISO 400, ~2500 mm, f/16, 1/200 sec). (David J Mathre)

Thursday (06-October-2011) — New Jersey

Backyard Autumn Nighttime Sky Over New Jersey.

With a clear sky, and bright waxing gibbous moon I experimented ways to acquire sharp images of the moon through a 600 mm f/4 VR telephoto lens. The lens is mounted on a tripod with a Wimberley gimble tripod head. VR  is turned off, and the camera set for “mirror up” mode. I used a remote release, and let the system stabilize for 30 seconds (time-out for mirror up) before the shutter would be triggered. The first five images are #1 (f/16, 1/50 sec); #2 (f/11, 1/100 sec); #3 (f/8, 1/200 sec); #4 (f/5.6, 1/400 sec); and #5 (f/4, 1/800 sec). I think the best was #4 (f/5.6, 1/400 sec), although all were pretty good. The next two images used a TC-E III 20 teleconverter for an effective focal length of 1200 mm #6 (f/16, 1/50 sec); #7 (f/11, 1/100 sec). Here I think #7 (f/11, 1/100 sec) is best. With the additional magnification, a faster shutter speed is needed to counteract the motion of the moon.

I also made several DSLR videos of the moon, since I was using my Nikon D3s camera body. When I reviewed the videos, I saw that I had captured at least two satellite transits in front of the moon. These transits are less than 1 second long. Subject for another post.

Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/16, 1/50 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/16, 1/50 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/11, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/11, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/8, 1/200 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/400 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/4, 1/800 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens. (ISO 200, 600 mm, f/4, 1/800 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 600 mm f/4 VR lens + TC-E III 20 teleconverter. (ISO 200, 1200 mm, f/16, 1/50 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens + TC-E III 20 teleconverter. (ISO 200, 1200 mm, f/16, 1/50 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Autumn Night in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 600 mm f/4 VR lens + TC-E III 20 teleconverter. (ISO 200, 1200 mm, f/11, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)
Waxing Gibbous Moon (75%). Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 600 mm f/4 VR lens + TC-E III 20 teleconverter. (ISO 200, 1200 mm, f/11, 1/100 sec). (David J Mathre)