I always get tons of comments like, “what a nice clear night, and the moon is full!” Let me show you an example of why I really dislike the Moon.
I’ve recently been working on imaging the Triangulum galaxy, which is a moderately faint target. The moon has been rising a few hours after it for the last few nights I have been imaging. It’s currently around 90 degrees away from my target in the sky. Not only does it illuminate the sky to make imaging dim targets less fruitful, but it also can really mess up imaging by directly shining into my telescope. With my NexDome, I had to do away with the foot long dew shield I had on the aperture, so I have little protection from the Moon.
Here are some example images taken last night, as the Moon was rising. The first one is a nice, normal, well calibrated image where the Moon was not yet a problem.
Now, the moon is making it over the trees and starting to shine into the telescope.
The moon is now fully risen above the tree line and shining brightly into the telescope.
Finally, the meridian flip occurs, and the moon can now shine directly into the camera.
Frames like the last three all have to be tossed. This project is going to take a while.