Extreme Crescent Hunting Tips

Saber’s Beads: The “string of pearls” arc of illuminated lunar peaks seen prior to the first complete crescent. Note the striking resemblance to the moments just before and after a total solar eclipse. (27 May 2006. raw image credit: maurice collins/ltvt)​

The moonrise before and moonset after each New Moon offer stargazers the opportunity to view the thinnest lunar crescents. There are many websites and apps that provide exact moonrise/set data for any location. Here are some additional tips to maximize your chances of sighting our very young (or old) moon.

Set up at a site with as much altitude as possible overlooking an unobstructed horizon. Optimal sky transparency allows the crescent to be detected and tracked down to, or up from, the horizon. Using a telescope or binoculars (mounted binos are recommended), fine tune the focus on Venus, Jupiter, or one of the brighter stars beforehand. For dusk attempts, have Sol’s setting azimuth on hand- making note after sunset of a random landmark at that position for reference- as well as Luna’s altaz position at sunset thru moonset. Accordingly, for dawn attempts, have Luna’s altaz info for moonrise thru sunrise. As dawn slivers have the advantage of possible detection with dark-adapted eyes, wearing sunglasses during the day prior to sunset attempts is recommended for maximum ‘dusk’ adaptation. Once the crescent is acquired in binoculars, walk the bino down to the horizon/random landmark in consecutive FOVs for the approximate naked-eye altaz. A favorable elongation is important. In the 24 hours before or after New Moon, Luna’s angular separation from Sol can vary by several degrees. With a favorable ecliptic, net elongations (as altitude) of 6° or more at sunset or moonrise offer the best window for detection. Observers nearer to the equator than the poles enjoy a much greater frequency of steep ecliptics. Illuminated fractions of same-age crescents within 24 hours of New Moon can vary by 200% and a full magnitude of brightness due to distance, libration, and sun angle. Slivers near perigee help present a thicker and brighter lunar profile for personal record crescent spotting. Last but not least, don’t always count-out a shallow ecliptic. Occasionally our moon’s extreme northern or southern declination will compensate for a less than favorable ecliptic angle.

BRACKETING THE SLIVERS

Another rare and challenging notch for ones lunar bedpost is to catch the consecutive waning and waxing crescents within 24 hours on each side of New Moon. For example, the July 2008 Buck Moon offered such an opportunity as I was able to spot both the -16.5 hour illumination before sunrise on the 2nd and the +23.5 hour sliver just after sunset on the 3rd. Clean horizons for both windows is a gift in itself.

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[exerpt from Saber Does The Stars by Stephen Saber] http://c14isawesome.blogspot.com

http://saberdoesthestars.wordpress.com

http://saberscorpx.vidmeup.com

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Capturing Saber’s Beads

by Jason Prochaska

In May 2006 American astronomer and veteran crescent hunter Stephen Saber was first to note a striking visual similarity between certain very thin lunar crescents and solar eclipse contacts. What made this particular crescent stand out to him was a rare combination of the limb’s staggered profile also appearing far enough away from the sun to be captured in a dark sky (well into nautical twilight) before moonset. Too old, and the crescent appears as a continuous arc. Too young, and the crescent cannot reach sufficient elongation from our sun to be observed in a dark sky. With a favorable libration this creates a nominal window of 18-28 hours before or after New Moon to observe, photograph, or image the phenomenon. As the crescent thickens, the beads become larger with fewer gaps inbetween.
Along with short exposures, an equally important element to capturing Saber’s beads is intent. One must go after the effect with the mindset of producing the eclipse contact resemblance, or, during a total eclipse, capturing the infant crescent similarity. Adding spikes to the staggered brightness peaks also enhances the aesthetics. Finally, following these remarkably thin lunar crescents into low-altitude turbulence near the horizon creates a powerful dynamic to the ‘string-of-pearls’ mirrored lunar aspects.

More common and easier to detect are Saber’s inherited and upgraded precursor beads seen at the horns of older waxing and waning crescents which can be observed to appear then combine with (or detach then fade from) the contiguous crescent rim over hours or even minutes of viewing.
Slowly defocusing these tip beads produces the smokey, overlapping links of “Saber’s chain”. As Stephen mentions, “the more beads, the better- like Mardi Gras…”. Indeed, my own impressions have been that of a cosmic thought bubble.

While the viral properties of the internet have since expanded Sabers beads into the world of literature, music, and the transcendental (representing open-mindedness and increased perspective i.e., experiencing a Saber’s beads moment), the visual dusk and dawn apparitions remain a beautiful celestial sight not to be missed.

Outreach Gone Wild: Listen to Saber’s Beads at YouTube
FMI: http://www.saberdoesthestars.wordpress.com
Also see New Moon: Extreme Crescent Visibility

[reprinted with permission/j.prochaska/starwind.net2012]

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sitting in plato: earth viewed from the moon 

simulated pics as seen from the lunar crater plato *courtesy of celestia*

earth occults the pleiades (messier 45)

earth visits the hyades (caldwell 41)

earth occults saturn

earth occults mars

earth occults sol (total solar eclipse)

a total solar eclipse from earth is seen as a shadow transit from the moon


full shadow transit vidclip at http://saberscorpx.vidmeup.com

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saber does the stars at 

http://c14isawesome.blogspot.com

http://saberdoesthestars.wordpress.com

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glass at a glance: orion 25×100 giantview



by stephen saber 

$349 from telescopes.com
instrument arrived promptly, well-packaged, mechanically sound, and in fine collimation.
aluminum case for transport.
bak4/fmc. orion does not skimp on AR coatings- there is barely any reflection at the business ends.
height 17.1 in
weight 10.1 lbs
individual focus
integral mounting post
exit pupil 4 mm
ipd 61-72mm
effective aperture 95mm
eye relief 17 luxurious (as advertised) useable mms
i’m happiest with 12-14mms of UER plus a few more to take advantage of leaving the eyeguards out to block peripheral light. the orion does not disappoint.
large 21mm eyelens diameters also contribute to a comfortable and rewarding viewing experience.

editorial:
i pay to see out to the field stop, even if the outer fov is just for context. anything less is considered a design flaw and/or a rip-off. those designing noks with 9 or less mms of ER should be subjected to forcibly viewing the fieldstop regardless of ocular bone damage or disfigurement. i keep imagining a think-tank of designers intentionally ignoring every new models’ ER specs and, for kicks and giggles, creating a betting pool as to the final distance outcomes. (“okay boys! who had 11 mms?”)

close focus 100 ft
soft rollback eyeguards
tfov 2.5° (spec )
field sharp to 80%
coma free field 2.0°
nominal positive distortion
afov (spec) 63°
afov (subj) v good. not a spacewalk but a substantial view relative to the limited tfov. fieldstop is well-defined.
false color: present but minimal
ergonomics: braced on my elbows-tripod or reclined, the increased weight actually serves to help stability when held near
the objectives. a heavy-duty tripod is required for best detection and detail.

purchase motivations:
giant bino addicts must have at least one 100 mm or larger horse in their stable. it’s the law. and yes, that’s my collective noun for them, as in ‘a stable of thoroughbred binoculars’. an ‘arsenal’ works, too. again, i also use and recommend giants for high mag handheld training, usually as a warm-up session before powering down to lower mag noks. after spending 15-20 minutes with the 25×100, regardless of the actual physiological stability increase, views thru my 15s and 20s certainly feel lighter and seem steadier- often reaching ‘heartbeat-limited’ stability.

bottom line:
10 lbs of heaven
five star transaction and instrument
highly recommended
*as always, ymmv*

tip of the day: afov direct (star) measurement.
view the left eyelens with your right eye. keeping both eyes open place two superimposed 1x stars at the left and right fieldstop borders, afov is the angular distance between the two stars. divide by tfov for magnification.

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more binocular reviews at:
tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestarz tinyurl.com/c14isawesome

*photo courtesy of telescope.com*

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2017 Lunar X Timings

01/05/2017          0654UT
02/03/2017          2046UT
03/05/2017          0956UT
04/03/2017          2221UT
05/03/2017          1010UT
06/01/2017          2136UT
07/01/2017          0857UT
07/30/2017          2033UT
08/29/2017          0839UT
09/27/2017          2125UT
10/27/2017          1051UT
11/26/2017          0046UT
12/25/2017          1450UT

[timings courtesy of Dana Thompson]
photo credit: frostydew.org

UT to local time conversion:
http://www.timebie.com/timelocal/universal.php

saber does the stars at:
tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestars
tinyurl com/c14isawesome

*all contents within are free use with author/website acknowledgement*

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2017 celestial events


(all times GMT)

Jan 02 09:20 Venus 1.9°S of Moon
    02 18:14 Moon at Descending Node
    03 06:47 Mars 0.2°S of Moon: Occn.
    03 14 Quadrantid Meteor Shower
    04 15 Earth at Perihelion: 0.98331 AU
    05 19:47 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    09 09 Mercury 6.7° of Saturn
    09 14:07 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon
    10 06:07 Moon at Perigee: 363242 km
    12 11:34 FULL MOON
    12 13 Venus at Greatest Elong: 47.1°E
    13 13:59 Beehive 3.9°N of Moon
    15 04:07 Regulus 0.9°N of Moon
    15 10:44 Moon at Ascending Node
    19 05:26 Jupiter 2.7°S of Moon
    19 10 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 24.1°W
    19 22:14 LAST QUARTER MOON
    22 00:14 Moon at Apogee: 404913 km
    24 10:37 Saturn 3.6°S of Moon
    26 00:46 Mercury 3.7°S of Moon
    28 00:07 NEW MOON
    29 22:21 Moon at Descending Node
    31 13:11 Jupiter 3.5°N of Spica
    31 14:34 Venus 4.1°N of Moon

Feb 01 01:09 Mars 2.3°N of Moon
    04 04:19 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    05 21:14 Aldebaran 0.2°S of Moon
    06 13:59 Moon at Perigee: 368817 km
    07 14 Mercury at Aphelion
    09 23:46 Beehive 3.9°N of Moon
    11 00:33 FULL MOON
    11 00:44 Pen. Lunar Eclipse; mag=0.988
    11 14:04 Regulus 0.8°N of Moon
    11 19:49 Moon at Ascending Node
    15 14:55 Jupiter 2.7°S of Moon
    18 19:33 LAST QUARTER MOON
    18 21 Jupiter at Aphelion
    18 21:14 Moon at Apogee: 404376 km
    20 16 Venus at Perihelion
    20 23:44 Saturn 3.6°S of Moon
    26 06:28 Moon at Descending Node
    26 14:53 Annular Solar Eclipse; mag=0.992
    26 14:58 NEW MOON 

Mar 01 18:58 Mars 4.3°N of Moon
    02 02 Neptune in Conjunction with Sun
    03 07:24 Moon at Perigee: 369065 km
    05 02:38 Aldebaran 0.2°S of Moon
    05 11:32 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    07 00 Mercury at Superior Conjunction
    09 07:12 Beehive 3.9°N of Moon
    10 22:20 Regulus 0.8°N of Moon
    11 04:17 Moon at Ascending Node
    12 14:54 FULL MOON
    14 20:04 Jupiter 2.5°S of Moon
    18 17:25 Moon at Apogee: 404651 km
    20 10:29 Vernal Equinox
    20 10:49 Saturn 3.4°S of Moon
    20 15:58 LAST QUARTER MOON
    23 14 Mercury at Perihelion
    25 11 Venus at Inferior Conjunction
    25 15:41 Moon at Descending Node
    28 02:57 NEW MOON
    30 12:39 Moon at Perigee: 363855 km
    30 13:03 Mars 5.5°N of Moon

Apr 01 08:50 Aldebaran 0.3°S of Moon
    01 10 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 19.0°E
    03 18:39 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    05 12:45 Beehive 3.8°N of Moon
    07 04:30 Regulus 0.7°N of Moon
    07 09:14 Moon at Ascending Node
    07 21 Jupiter at Opposition
    10 21:20 Jupiter 2.2°S of Moon
    11 06:08 FULL MOON
    14 06 Uranus in Conjunction with Sun
    15 10:05 Moon at Apogee: 405478 km
    16 18:39 Saturn 3.2°S of Moon
    19 09:57 LAST QUARTER MOON
    20 06 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction
    21 08:16 Mars 3.4°S of Pleiades
    21 22:30 Moon at Descending Node
    22 12 Lyrid Meteor Shower
    23 17:59 Venus 5.2°N of Moon
    26 12:16 NEW MOON
    27 16:18 Moon at Perigee: 359325 km
    28 17:19 Aldebaran 0.5°S of Moon

May 02 18:23 Beehive 3.6°N of Moon
    03 02:47 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    04 09:49 Regulus 0.5°N of Moon
    04 10:42 Moon at Ascending Node
    05 01 Eta-Aquarid Meteor Shower
    05 13:51 Mars 6.1°N of Aldebaran
    07 21:24 Jupiter 2.1°S of Moon
    10 21:43 FULL MOON
    12 19:51 Moon at Apogee: 406212 km
    13 23:07 Saturn 3.1°S of Moon
    17 23 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 25.8°W
    19 00:33 LAST QUARTER MOON
    19 01:30 Moon at Descending Node
    22 12:32 Venus 2.4°N of Moon
    24 01:20 Mercury 1.6°N of Moon
    25 19:44 NEW MOON
    26 01:23 Moon at Perigee: 357210 km
    30 01:50 Beehive 3.4°N of Moon
    31 11:56 Moon at Ascending Node
    31 16:08 Regulus 0.3°N of Moon

Jun 01 12:42 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    03 11 Venus at Greatest Elong: 45.9°W
    03 23:57 Jupiter 2.3°S of Moon
    07 03:19 Mercury 5.3°S of Pleiades
    08 22:21 Moon at Apogee: 406402 km
    09 13:10 FULL MOON
    10 01:25 Saturn 3.1°S of Moon
    13 00 Venus at Aphelion
    15 02:40 Moon at Descending Node
    15 09 Saturn at Opposition
    17 11:33 LAST QUARTER MOON
    19 13 Mercury at Perihelion
    20 21:13 Venus 2.4°N of Moon
    21 04:25 Summer Solstice
    21 14 Mercury at Superior Conjunction
    22 14:23 Aldebaran 0.5°S of Moon
    23 10:49 Moon at Perigee: 357938 km
    24 02:31 NEW MOON
    26 11:18 Beehive 3.2°N of Moon
    27 16:26 Moon at Ascending Node
    28 00:26 Regulus 0.1°N of Moon

Jul 01 00:51 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    01 07:28 Jupiter 2.7°S of Moon
    03 20 Earth at Aphelion: 1.01668 AU
    05 00:21 Venus 6.5°S of Pleiades
    06 04:27 Moon at Apogee: 405934 km
    07 03:34 Saturn 3.2°S of Moon
    09 04:07 FULL MOON
    10 01:33 Mercury 0.1°N of Beehive
    12 05:17 Moon at Descending Node
    13 18:03 Venus 3.1°N of Aldebaran
    16 19:26 LAST QUARTER MOON
    19 23:37 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon
    20 11:13 Venus 2.7°N of Moon
    21 17:09 Moon at Perigee: 361238 km
    23 09:46 NEW MOON
    25 00:46 Moon at Ascending Node
    25 08:49 Mercury 0.9°S of Moon: Occn.
    25 10:14 Regulus 0.0°S of Moon
    25 17:03 Mercury 0.8°S of Regulus
    27 00 Mars in Conjunction with Sun
    28 03 Delta-Aquarid Meteor Shower
    28 20:15 Jupiter 3.1°S of Moon
    30 04 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 27.2°E
    30 15:23 FIRST QUARTER MOON 

Aug 02 13 Mercury at Aphelion
    02 17:55 Moon at Apogee: 405026 km
    03 07:31 Saturn 3.5°S of Moon
    07 18:11 FULL MOON
    07 18:20 Partial Lunar Eclipse; mag=0.246
    08 10:56 Moon at Descending Node
    12 19 Perseid Meteor Shower
    15 01:15 LAST QUARTER MOON
    16 06:39 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon
    18 13:14 Moon at Perigee: 366129 km
    19 04:45 Venus 2.2°N of Moon
    20 07:15 Beehive 3.2°N of Moon
    20 18:08 Venus 7.2°S of Pollux
    21 10:34 Moon at Ascending Node
    21 18:26 Total Solar Eclipse; mag=1.031
    21 18:30 NEW MOON
    25 13:00 Jupiter 3.5°S of Moon
    26 21 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction
    29 08:13 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    30 11:25 Moon at Apogee: 404307 km
    30 14:23 Saturn 3.6°S of Moon

Sep 01 06:08 Venus 1.4°S of Beehive
    04 18:41 Moon at Descending Node
    05 00 Mercury 3.2° of Mars
    05 04 Neptune at Opposition
    06 07:03 FULL MOON
    10 05:30 Mercury 0.7°S of Regulus
    10 21:44 Jupiter 2.9°N of Spica
    12 10 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 17.9°W
    12 12:09 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon
    13 06:25 LAST QUARTER MOON
    13 16:04 Moon at Perigee: 369856 km
    15 12 Mercury at Perihelion
    16 14:50 Beehive 3.1°N of Moon
    16 18 Mercury 0.1° of Mars
    17 18:28 Moon at Ascending Node
    18 00:56 Venus 0.5°N of Moon: Occn.
    18 04:32 Regulus 0.1°S of Moon
    18 23:22 Mercury 0.0°N of Moon: Occn.
    19 21:30 Venus 0.4°N of Regulus
    20 05:30 NEW MOON
    22 07:51 Jupiter 3.7°S of Moon
    22 20:02 Autumnal Equinox
    27 00:09 Saturn 3.5°S of Moon
    27 06:49 Moon at Apogee: 404342 km
    28 02:54 FIRST QUARTER MOON 

Oct 02 02:05 Moon at Descending Node
    03 09 Venus at Perihelion
    05 18:40 FULL MOON
    08 00 Mars at Aphelion
    08 21 Mercury at Superior Conjunction
    09 05:51 Moon at Perigee: 366858 km
    09 18:05 Aldebaran 0.6°S of Moon
    12 12:25 LAST QUARTER MOON
    13 20:29 Beehive 3.0°N of Moon
    14 22:10 Moon at Ascending Node
    15 10:54 Regulus 0.2°S of Moon
    17 10:04 Mars 1.8°S of Moon
    18 00:21 Venus 2.0°S of Moon
    19 17 Uranus at Opposition
    19 19:12 NEW MOON
    21 11 Orionid Meteor Shower
    24 11:54 Saturn 3.3°S of Moon
    25 02:25 Moon at Apogee: 405151 km
    26 18 Jupiter in Conjunction with Sun
    27 22:22 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    29 06:41 Moon at Descending Node 

Nov 02 13:58 Venus 3.3°N of Spica
    04 05:23 FULL MOON
    05 11 S Taurid Meteor Shower
    06 00:09 Moon at Perigee: 361438 km
    06 02:19 Aldebaran 0.8°S of Moon
    10 01:58 Beehive 2.7°N of Moon
    10 20:37 LAST QUARTER MOON
    10 22:40 Moon at Ascending Node
    11 16:07 Regulus 0.4°S of Moon
    12 11 N Taurid Meteor Shower
    12 17:50 Mercury 2.2°N of Antares
    15 00:40 Mars 3.2°S of Moon
    17 17 Leonid Meteor Shower
    18 11:42 NEW MOON
    21 00:34 Saturn 3.0°S of Moon
    21 18:52 Moon at Apogee: 406132 km
    24 00 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 22.0°E
    25 08:22 Moon at Descending Node
    26 17:03 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    29 14:30 Mars 2.9°N of Spica

Dec 03 13:00 Aldebaran 0.8°S of Moon
    03 15:47 FULL MOON
    04 08:42 Moon at Perigee: 357496 km
    07 00 Mercury 1.3° of Saturn
    07 09:30 Beehive 2.5°N of Moon
    08 00:39 Moon at Ascending Node
    08 22:25 Regulus 0.7°S of Moon
    10 07:51 LAST QUARTER MOON
    12 12 Mercury at Perihelion
    13 02 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction
    13 16:27 Mars 4.2°S of Moon
    14 06 Geminid Meteor Shower
    14 14:26 Jupiter 4.2°S of Moon
    18 06:31 NEW MOON
    19 01:27 Moon at Apogee: 406605 km
    21 16:29 Winter Solstice
    21 20 Saturn in Conjunction with Sun
    22 10:04 Moon at Descending Node
    22 15 Ursid Meteor Shower
    26 09:20 FIRST QUARTER MOON
    31 00:25 Aldebaran 0.7°S of Moon

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saber does the stars (vol 2: the index catalog)
http://www.c14isawesome.blogspot.com
tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestars-vol1

all contents within are free use with author/website acknowledgement

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