Crescent Moonset

On Tuesday evening 1 April the forecast looked pretty good.  As I packed the car in an optimistic mood for another go at the constellation of Leo, I glanced towards the west and saw the thin crescent Moon about 90 minutes from the horizon.  All plans changed, and I headed out to Helsington church, south-west of Kendal, with good views to the hills of the Lake District on the western horizon.

The Moon looked okay through the new combination of Nikon D90 and Altair Wave 115/805 ED Triplet (hereafter “my telescope”), but only okay.  The humidity was higher than expected, as was the wind speed, and the atmosphere low to the horizon was not going to cooperate.

This was about the best on offer:

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805mm f/7, ISO 800 1/30 sec

Of course this location and composition are one of my favourite combinations, so I switched to the 300mm lens as the Moon approached the horizon.  ISO 800 with the lens wide open at f/4, this is the series of 30-second exposures as the Moon set behind the skyline of the National Park:

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I stopped the mount motor to take one frame with the horizon stationary, which shows how much the Moon was moving over the 30 seconds:

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Clipping that horizon in Photoshop, I can use it to take the blur out of the earlier shots. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether this is an improvement.

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