View Full Version : The Golden Handle, Spica ... and an Airplane

2013-Jun-19, 02:02 PM
Last night (June 18/19, 2013) was the one night in the month in which the "golden handle" can be observed. That is when the Jura mountains (Montes Jura) that enclose the Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridum) are already illuminated by the rising sun while the flat plain of the bay is still shrouded in darkness. What's more, the waxing Moon passed within 40 arc minutes (just a tad more than a lunar diameter) from the bright star Spica (alpha Vir) (apparent brightness +0.95 mag). Obviously, I was out, observing and trying to capture the encounter in a photograph.

I shot many, and haven't even had the time to have a close look at all. But I thought I'd share this one. Yes, it is a composite, but both images that go into it were in fact taken by myself within less than a minute of each other.

It shows the Moon, taken at 1/125 s (ISO 400), with the golden handle clearly visible. In the original picture Spica was a bit dim, so I inserted an image of Spica from a different photo that I had taken just a few dozen seconds earlier, at 1/50 s. There, Spica looked about the same brightness and colour as it had looked to the naked eye, but of course the Moon was hopelessly over-exposed in that picture.In the composte image, these two together look pretty much like the visual impression I got when observing through the eyepiece of my scope.

And what's more ... just at the time when I shot the 1/125 s photograph of the Moon, an airliner passed right through the line of sight. That was lucky ... and that makes the picture special.


Telescope: 70 mm aperture / 420 mm focal length ED refractor.
Camera: Canon EOS 1000D
ISO 400, 1/125 and 1/50 s
Date and Time: 19 June 2013, ca. 00:30 CEST
Location, Darmstadt, Germany

CS and Greetings from Germany,


2013-Jun-19, 03:04 PM
very cool!

2013-Jun-22, 11:13 PM
Fantastic capture!