Waited too long

Early this morning, what I still consider “last night,” I was getting bleary but knew that I might have a shot at the moon after about 1:30 AM, so I hung out until it would have risen above the horizon, which around Walkabout Estates is fairly high – there are trees all over the place. As I said a couple of days ago, in two days the sun would be setting on Tycho, and thus I’d have my chance to get sunset (instead of sunrise, two weeks hence) on the central peak. On cue, I gathered the long lens and tripod and went out to the front lawn, where there’s a narrow window when the moon is visible down the road before it enters the neighbors’ trees. The moon was there, burnt orange, but partially obscured by clouds and, as I watched, disappeared within. Nertz.

I waited it out though, and lo! it reappeared, nice and clear for at least a few minutes. Still orange and very dim, so I boosted ISO, went wide open (which is f6.3 for the Tamron 150-600,) and fired off a number of frames, using mirror lock-up with at least two seconds of delay, usually longer. The dimness did not help my manual focusing, but there were still enough details visible that a few of the frames were critically sharp.

orange waning crescent moon with no light on Tycho's central peak
This is right after 2 AM, and the detail is fine (this is admittedly full resolution) – enough to show that I was too late. The deep crater down low on the terminator is Tycho; see that point of light on the peak in the center of the crater? Yeah, me neither – the sun had already set low enough to no longer illuminate the peak. If you’d been standing on that mountaintop, you would only be seeing the pink afterglow in the sky above the moon, no vestige of the sun itself anymore. Okay, no, you probably wouldn’t see anything more than a faint haze of pale light hugging the horizon, from the tiny bit of dust orbiting the moon, since it takes atmosphere to produce anything more. But yeah, I should have been out there sooner.

In all reality, the sun may have set for that peak hours ago, long before it would have been in sight for my longitude, since a lunar day is nearly a month long – I don’t have software slick enough to pin it down that tightly. And that’s okay – it’s a quest partially because it is difficult to time correctly. And partially because I’m weird and have some peculiar obsession over it. After all, I got sunset on Maurolycus, which is where the In Crowd vacation; Tycho is for poseurs and the riff-raff.

On a whim, I went out just now, while typing this (well, I paused and left the computer behind in the office,) to see what the moon looked like now, at 11:30 AM – you know, to make the post really quality. And it looks far worse than this pic, because we’re somewhere between hazy and overcast right now and they ain’t no damn thing to see. But I made the effort, and that counts, right?