Wednesday, 8 November 2017

White Light White Heat

When Lou Reed wrote the Velvet Underground classic White Light White Heat I don't think he had the Tudor Telescope in mind. However, looking at the full Moon on November 6th through a 10" objective lens is very hard on the eye. The light is almost blinding although there is little heat.  The Moon will not generate enough heat when focused through a lens to ignite kindling no matter how big the lens is because the lunar surface never gets much above 100 Centigrade.  A big enough lens might heat enough water to make a cup of tea but it will never get hot enough to ignite paper, wood or coal (the second law of thermodynamics means that Lunar radiation cannot acheive a higher temperature on Earth than on the Lunar surface). Here is my first photograph taken without any filters.
Using a moon filter and a CPL filter in series and setting a low ISO on my camera I got the image below which is quite detailed and shows many lunar features including several large craters, the lunar maria and the highlands.

Here is a close up of the lunar highlands that Galileo saw and wrote about in Sidereus Nuncius and estimated that they were 4 miles high by using Pythagorus triangles. Galileo measured the length of shadows cast by the mountains and created a traingle to estimate the vertical height. This was actually a good estimate by Galileo as the highest point on the Montes Apenninius is actually 3.1 miles high. The crater in the middle of the image below is Conon which is 21 Kilometers in diameter, the smallest craters imaged here are 2 to 3 Kilometers in diameter which is quite an acheivement for Tudor technology.


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