I have no idea what has me so fascinated by imaging a young moon (taking an image of the moon when only a very small slice of it is lit, a slim waxing crescent or ‘young moon phase’). Once when I saw someone else’s image it just really blew me away. Unfortunately where I am and where I shoot it is very difficult because of trees and light pollution.
Here is a young moon I managed to get on January 3rd which I was pretty impressed with. Sure, I would love to go younger but I was almost shooting in the trees with this as it was. This image was 25 lights of 1/250th sec at ISO 400 stacked and sharpened in Registax 6. You can see plenty of detail, have some fun trying to name the features! You could use my favorite map, the Sky & Telescope’s Field Map of the Moon to see the names of the features.
The really great thing about moon is that you get great detail way out on the edge of the moon which normally is pretty flatly lit. This flat lighting makes details difficult to see. With the edge lighting the rims of the craters, edges of mountains and crevasses really pop out either in an eyepiece or image. Another great thing is it gives you something to image right after the sun dips below the horizon. You don’t have to wait until astronomical sunset for this target!
Hopefully I will be able to get something a little younger when I find a suitable place to image with lower horizons.
Next time you get a chance take a stab at your own young moon image and see if it fascinates you as much as it does me.
More on waxing crescent and the 8 phases of the moon is on Wikipedia, more young moon photos on my solar system astrophotography page.
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