Yeah, nah

Earlier this evening but on a previous day, I was doing a bit of blog maintenance and checked the post count so far this year: 166 (not counting this one of course.) That not only beats out last year’s count already, by four posts, but places this year fourth out of eleven years so far, with six weeks to go. Am I gonna set a new record? Not likely, because that’s held by 2015 with 218 posts, so I’d have to get 51 more posts (over top of this one) done in that time frame, or something like 9 a week. Not holding my breath.

But enough worthless personal trivia. Finding myself with the inclination, not too tired, with it not too cold out, I decided I might give the Leonids an attempt, but on stepping outside to check conditions, I found a distinctive haze across the sky, lit up by the gibbous moon (which was not too high yet.) Better than overcast, but not by a lot – the dimmer meteors would be obscured by the haze, while the brighter ones rendered less distinct with a glow around them. Much worse would be the bare idea that even in a region with no light pollution, the light of the moon would throw too much residual glow to the haze, no matter where the camera was aimed, and thus longer exposures (which is what you want for meteors, just to have the shutter open when they occur,) would get too bright too fast. Here where the light pollution is terrible, it would mean a max 30-second exposure because the haze would be reflecting the ground lights as well. So, no.

But I took the camera out anyway, just to shoot an example of the moon to show the adverse affect of the humidity, and while I was setting in exposure, the skies cleared a bit – not completely, but not too shabby at all. Note the faint surrounding glow.

gibbous moon in hazy conditions
That’s – really not too bad detail for the Tamron 150-600 at manual focus (but indeed on a tripod, and with a remote release.)

By the way, Tycho, my semi-regular ‘sunrise’ target, is at the end of the longest and most distinct streak on the surface – not the very noticeable crater on the terminator, but directly beneath it by about 470 kilometers. That really distinct big crater, if I have my mapping down, is Maurolycus, and it’s that distinct largely because of the sun and shadow position – it’ll look different tomorrow. And we’re in the wrong moon phase to be considering sunrise on Tycho again, because it’s late in the lunar day there, but in a couple of (Earth) days I might be able to catch sunset on that central peak. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, I provide another shot of the conditions, this time over-exposing the moon to show the haze a bit better – it was pretty variable just in the short time that I was out there.

overexposed gibbous moon showing more surrounding haze
Pics like this drive home how much the camera increases contrast, because while out there, the mares of the moon were visible while the haze was much more distinct. These images were taken at ‘normal’ settings, but to get closer to what our eyes could capture, I’d have to drop the contrast way down. Or do a lot of creative editing, HDR and suchlike, but there’s too much of that stuff going around now, especially in regards to astronomy and night sky images.

By the way, does this count as black and white photography?