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Mamma Glows, Baby Shines | by Steven Christenson
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Mamma Glows, Baby Shines

This is a 24 hour old moon - that seems like a baby to me. The moon was new the day before on March 26th. A new moon, of course, means that it is so near the sun that the sun's bright light drowns out any chance of seeing it. Here a tiny sliver of the moon was lit by the sun but you can actually see the rest of the moon rather well. Why? The rest of the moon is lit by Earthshine. Just as our friend Mr. Moon reflects sunshine to light up our night skies, our vessel the Earth, returns the favor on an even greater scale - so much so that the light reflected from the Earth to the moon is reflected back to us!


This nearly new moon was not visible at sunset (7:28 PM). It wasn't until about 8:12 pm that the shy baby moon was distinct enough to photograph. According to the Navy, 2% of the moons surface was illuminated by direct sunlight.


The mountain to the left is Mt. Tamalpais.


This image is a stack of 33 nine-second exposures taken at 1"15 sec intervals with increasing ISO (I started at 400 and ended at 1000). Stacked with startrails.exe. Each was at 50mm, f/13 on a Canon 50D. A final long exposure (285 seconds at 200 ISO forms the "tail of the moon") is layered in with Photoshop CS3. Photo was completed by sharpening and exporting using Picasa3. If you look very closely you can see one brighter and one fainter "dotted" star trail in the upper right hand corner.


A MUCH LARGER image can be seen, too. See below for the first and penultimate images in the sequence.


If this image by Harold Davis looks suspiciously similar, there is an explanation for that. Getting the final "tail" was Harold's idea, by the way, I notice he didn't include it on his shot.


-- Copyright 2009, Steven Christenson

All Rights Reserved.

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Taken on March 28, 2009