Science: Astronomy
Astrophotography Scale Moon Outline   (+6)  [vote for, against]
A circle with some jagged edges, to give a sense of scale.

When you look at pictures of stars and galaxies, it's hard to tell how big they are. Sometimes the caption will say that the photo covers the area of the full moon, but some photos are of much smaller areas, and it would be nice to have a visual comparison in any case. (Arc- seconds, what are they?)

I propose a standard outline of the moon, or rather a set of standard outlines, scaled and scalable. These can be incorporated into any photograph without taking up much of the image. In these digital days it will only take a few seconds to do.

The first is a simple complete circle. It can be filled in as a black or white spot, or just used as an outline.

As the apparent size of the moon increases, the outline becomes an arc. The line of the arc can either be drawn across part of the image, or used on one side as a cropping tool.

As the arc straightens further with increasing size, the noticable- scale affect would be lost. But---and here is the gist of this idea--- mountains appear on the outline of the moon in finer scales

The first feature on the arc will be three humps representing Tycho crater's profile, as the rim and center peak. Zooming in on the center peak brings out the complex, then the highest peak, then details, the very top, a lunar lander, an astronaut, his religion, and on down to molecular scale if ever needed.

The current need, as best I can tell, is still mostly in the unblemished- arc scale. The Hubble Deep-Field image is about the size of Tycho crater, I think.

(On my touch-screen, here, it's all hopeless.)
-- baconbrain, Mar 02 2014

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