Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blue (and Orange) Moon

August 31, 2012, is a Blue Moon, so I thought it would be appropriate to do one of those "colors of the moon" images. The weather here has been a little unpredictable lately, so it's anyone's guess as to whether or not the Blue Moon will be visible. The sky was clear the night of the August 1 full moon, so I took the opportunity to image it, instead.

The moon's colors are very subtle not and easily discerned by the human eye. A little image enhancement brings them out.

Full Moon, August 1, 2012 with enhanced colors
A negative image often brings out subtle details that are usually harder to see in normal photographs. Astronomers use this technique to spot galaxies, nebulae and other dim objects.

Inverted monochrome image of the August 1, 2012 Full Moon
And here is a "normal" image of the moon, with only slight contrast enhancement:

August 1, 2012 Full Moon


  1. Rory, this is awesome! I've always wanted to do a moon like this colored one. I tried once but could not get mine to look like that. The negative moon is cool, too. Never thought to do that, probably because the background would change, too, but you've solved that, somehow.

  2. The viewing conditions seem to affect the quality of the colors. I've tried this more than once and only had decent success one other time. I was a little concerned about this one, too, because there was a cirrus cloud in front of the moon while I was imaging. These images were made with the Epsilon-200. I've noticed that the ST80 doesn't produce good moon colors--maybe due to chromatic aberration.

    I got rid of the background on the negative image using the fuzzy-select tool. Look carefully at the right-hand side and you can see a little bit that was left over.

  3. Ah, looking at the full-size image I can see it. OK. Perhaps it's easier to get the colors with a reflector. I tried it earlier with a little refractor, too. Good info.