How to Photograph the Moon with a DSLR
- Observational Astronomy
- Getting used to the Dark - Eye Adaption
- Binocular Astronomy
- Light Pollution
- Why do Stars Twinkle?
- How do I take Long Exposures with my Canon DSLR?
- How to Photograph the Moon with a DSLR
- Buying Your First Telescope
- Your First Night With Your First Telescope
- Sky Orientation through a Telescope
- Polar Alignment of an Equatorial Telescope Mount
- Astronomy Filters
There is nothing quite like the sight of a waxing crescent Moon hanging in the evening twilight sky - the classic Moon shape beloved of movie makes and artists alike. Photographing the Moon is one of the simplest targets you can find in the nights sky, but this guide will show you how to get the best shots with your DSLR.
The best areas of the Moon to photograph are along the terminator - the line that separates lunar day and lunar night. Along this line lunar features are most visible due to low angle between the Moon and the Sun which creates long shadows over the lunar surface.
You will need a T-mount adaptor to couple your DSLR to your telescope in order to photograph the Moon. These are fairly inexpensive and can usually be got for around £15. They are specific to certain brands of camera, so if you have a Canon DSLR you will need an adaptor ring for Canon cameras. You will also need a barrel that will slide into your telescope focuser. These are generic and screw into the adaptor ring. You can also add a neutral density or variable polariser filter to the barrel as you would an eyepiece. Adding a filter also has the benefit of sealing the insides of the camera from dust and moisture.
Once you have your camera setup and ready to go, you need to do the same for your telescope. This includes polar alignment if you are wanting to track the Moon for any length of time.
Now that everything is setup, insert your DSLR into your telescope and tighten the restraining screws. I think it is also a good idea to wrap the camera strap around the guide scope, just in case the camera should fall loose.
The exposure setting will vary depending on your telescope, but as a starting point try 1/200 second. Take a test shot and and view the image. The Moon should be bright, but not over expose and not contain any pure white. If the shot is overexposed decrease the exposure time, if its not exposed enough increase it.
When you have found the optimal exposure setting, you need to either use a remote shutter release or the camera self timer. This is because when you release the shutter, you introduce tiny vibrations into the camera and telescope. These are magnified by the optics and introduce blur to the image. The remote shutter release or self timer will allow you to take the picture without physically touching the camera.
You can view my photos of the Moon in the Lunar gallery.