Orwell Astronomical Society (Ipswich)

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Young Moon, 01 May 2022

On a visit to La Palma in the Canaries in April - May 2022, I captured images of groupings of five planets, the Moon and the Pleiades. During my time on the island, on 30  April 2022, there was an eclipse of the Sun (visible as a partial eclipse from La Palma, as a total eclipse from South America and Antarctica) with new moon at 20:28 UT.

How soon after the eclipse and new moon could the Moon itself be seen? I decided to try to find the Moon at one day old. On 01 May, at sunset there was much high altitude cloud and haze impeding observation close to the horizon. The following image shows the general view: from my vantage point near the top of the mountain, the view is downwards onto the cloud deck. The sky at high altitude is relatively clear but the view near the horizon is dominated by the redness of dusk. However, the inset in the photo shows the thin sliver of a crescent Moon is visible near the horizon!


I took many photos, hoping to capture a stronger image of the Moon. My Sony A7S camera was tracking the sky at sidereal rate, while the Moon was moving slightly faster through the sky. However, the biggest difficulty was that refraction was affecting the apparent altitude of the Moon ever more strongly as it approached the horizon. As a result, in order to produce a stacked image, I had to align all the frames manually. The result, below, a stack of 20 images, is garish in its colour scheme - the object was not to recreate the wider view of the previous image but to emphasise the visibility of the Moon. The inset to the image shows the outline of the Moon - this would undoubtedly have been clearer had there been less haze.


I compiled the following short movie clip from the frames.


Nigel Evans