Atacama Moon from ALMA

The ACEAP 2019 team first saw this lovely crescent moon with brilliant earthshine as we headed down from the ALMA technical building to the residencia for dinner. I rushed up to my room for my camera & tripod. I thought that I'd missed the moment, but I couldn't head home without an image of the Moon from a world upside down. Dust near the horizon dimmed the earthshine. The Moon sank behind a featureless flat topped ridge, instead of a nearby volcano...

Without my tracker, only one set of earthshine exposures was clear. The Atacama has wonderful contrast between the foothills of the Andes and flat desert. With the HDR image put together, it captured the flatness of the desert and color of the dust. This almost monochromatic image captures the moment; I can almost smell the dust. This rendering is lightened a bit to show well on phone screens, if you print the full resolution image you will probably want to adjust the exposure.

Sony a6300 with Nikkor 180mm f/2.8 AIS ED lens, shot at 5.6 with a 1.4x teleconverter. Crescent data exposed 1/50 sec at ISO 1600. 88 frames 1.5x drizzle stacked in Autostakkert 3. Earthshine and ridge-line data exposed 30 sec at ISO 200 with 5 images stacked. Final HDR composite and crop in photoshop.

This is also my 25th astro image selected for Flickr Explore. Astrophotographers, get yourself to the Atacama in Chile. With no forests to burn, humidity of 3% and 0.3 arc second seeing, the Atacama is second only to the Antarctic and low earth orbit for imaging possibilities. Chile has warm welcoming people, great food, and lots to see and do when you are not looking up. Thanks again to AUI, the NSF, and their partners in giving me this opportunity. For more about this trip, more images, and press articles see: ACEAP 2019 or #ACEAP2019 #AstroAmbassadors #NSFfunded on social media.

Content created: 2019-08-03

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