Viewing the Moon from Chaco Canyon

Chaco Culture National Historic Park is a great place for amateur astronomy. Its remote location, climate, altitude and facilities have made it a popular destination for night sky viewing. This weekend I was lucky enough to try my hand at astrophotography. Having (literally) photographed nearly every place in Chaco Canyon over the last decade (see Traditions of the Sun), it seemed natural to try to point my camera skyward.

The photograph below is my first attempt at astrophotography. Early Friday morning at 5AM, I’ll be trying again. I’m hoping to capture NASA’s LCROSS impact of the moon. This mission will measure the concentration of water ice in the permanently shadowed areas of the moon. Ideum developed an exhibit for NASA’s Lunar Robotics program, so we’ve been following this all along. (Update 9-5-09: NASA Just posted a viewing guide for the event.)

southpole-smallThe photograph above was taken with a Canon 20D. Amateur astronomer Brad Hamlin set up the 18″ telescope. This image was shot with a 20mm eyepiece and 2x Barlow lens. And, yes, I did clean the image up a bit in Photoshop. Below are some other shots I took at Chaco Canyon earlier in day and the next morning.

cornerwindowThe amazing architecture of the great house of Pueblo Bonito.

bonito-stoneThe beautiful sandstone veneer of Pueblo Bonito.

elkWe saw elk on the way out of the park Sunday morning.  This view was from the dirt road (NM 57) in the southern part of Chaco Culture.

If you’re interested in seeing more photographs of Chaco Canyon. I’ve posted quite a few to the blog over the last few years. Check out the category “Chaco Culture National Historical Park.” You can see more photographs, including high-resolution versions of images that appear in this post, on Ideum’s Flickr photostream.

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