by Matt Allard and Philip Steffey
In October 22, 2004 we opened the B-CC Observatory dome, with a little hope to find Uranus with the 14-inch telescope and get video images with the Polaris camera. Alas, a thin gibbous waxing moon was near the planet and the sky around it was uncooperative, slightly murky and too bright. So we turned to Plan B. The Moon itself was an attractive target for our Orion camera, and we had an adapter (built by P.S. earlier in the year) allowing the camera to be used with the standard focal reducer, which makes the focal length about 105 inches instead of 154. This accessory yields full-disc views of the Moon and Sun with our longest-f.l. eyepieces, and it doubles the area that can be imaged with the camera. Another new tool was a new screen-capture utility, recently installed on the Observatory 's computer. Its biggest advantage for us is allowing the selection of only significant areas of full video images for saving, reducing needed hard-drive storage space. This is more important for planetary observations, but our new cropping capability is another plus for lunar observations, allowing specially interesting impact craters, mountains and other features to be selected or at least favorably positioned in a larger-area selection. The video images we saw that night were excellent and several captured stills were our best yet by far. Four are reproduced below with some outstanding features named and sized. Enjoy!
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