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Moon near end of totality

The Moon near the end of totality.

JISHOU, HUNAN — I had to Photoshop this one a bit to clean it up. I mistakenly had the Tamron’s vibration control on, and the resulting movement smeared the Moon’s image, but left the star images intact.

This is a 10-second exposure with the lens zoomed to 230 mm, taken near the end of totality around 11:00 pm local time. Everything else is the same: Nikon D60 on tripod, Tamron 70-300 zoom lens, f5.6, ASA 200.

The stars surrounding the Moon are fainter members of Taurus: from top left going clockwise, 13 Tau/HIP23900A, iota Tau/HIP23497, HIP23589, 15 Tau/HIP23883 (closest apparently to Moon here), and L Tau/HIP 23871. Iota Tau is a member of the Hyades star cluster, whose V-shape outlines the horns of the bull. The stars of the Hyades are about 150-160 light-years away from Earth.

How do I know which star is which? It’s not an encyclopedic memory or fancy astronomy equipment. I used Stellarium, a free planetarium application for your computer. Here’s a screen shot of Stellarium showing the same view on my desktop.

Stellarium simulation

Screenshot of Stellarium view of Moon at 11:00 pm Dec 10, 2001

Stellarium will give you details about any object you click on.

Interestingly enough, 15 Tau, which in this photo appears closest to the Moon, is actually the farthest star of the five from us. It’s 1032 light-years away. That’s some old light there.