Most of my friends know me as a deep sky imager. Occasionally dabbling in a planet, or the sun, or maybe even the moon. Truth is though, the moon is my original love. It was the sight of the moon through a cheap telescope at the age of 7 or 8 and the sight of craters… that lit a fire in me that has never died. It was shooting the moon through a large reflector with my wife’s SLR on black and white film that was my introduction to astrophotography, and there is an unfinished lunar atlas I’ve started in my archives that is a project I still hope to return to one day.
How many times have you heard someone at a club meeting, or on line, exclaim “Ahg, the moon will be up and ruin everything!”. Really? What the heck is wrong with the moon? The moon is wonderful and amazing, and it changes every night… actually it changes hourly! Yes, it’s familiar terrain, but it’s never quite the same exactly. The moon is beautiful through an eyepiece in a way that I still think no one has captured photographically. You can observe the moon through thin clouds that would ruin deep sky photography, you can observe the moon in the worst light pollution on the planet, you can even observe the moon in the daytime! It’s the ultimate astronomical target. Can’t stay up late… well, it’s an early morning target for part of the month. Can’t get up early? That’s fine for part of the month you can catch it after dinner. Oh, the summer is terrible for astrophotography because it’s too hazy? Ha, the moon doesn’t care about your haze! Suck it up and catch some reflected sunlight! Remember too, partly cloudy means partly moonshine too 😉
What about history and cultural significance? There are more songs about the moon, more cultural stories, traditions, and history associated with the moon than all 88 constellations combined!
If you’re reading this you are most likely already ruined by being exposed to astronomy too much. You’ve forgotten what it was like to be a noob. Stop showing people those fuzzy blobs in the eyepiece. No one is really impressed by how many light years away a formless shapeless barely discernible mist is…. really (sometimes when they say they see it, they are faking it too), I’m serious and I’m telling you this for your own good. The A-Number One most impressive object for just about any John-Q-Public to see through a telescope is… okay, besides Saturn… the MOON!
(I’ll give quarter to a cool Ha telescopic view of the sun… maybe… it’s too hot and it makes me sweat though… I might actually put that as a third place object).
Low power, high power, 16 inch or 60mm telescope, the moon always delivers. You can also easily take a photo of it. With a cell phone, a pocket camera, or a DSLR. No long exposures, no deep cooling, or stacking. Just take a shot and maybe give it a tweak or two in Photoshop… and it’s beautiful. Sure, go crazy and get into lucky imaging with a video camera, or just stick to the eyepiece. I will never pass up an opportunity to look at the moon through an eyepiece. It has a dynamic range, a creamy sharpness that only the human eye can deliver when looking actually at the thing.
And… and.. and… well, there you go.
Hello, my name is Richard. I’m a deep space astrophotographer… and… I love the moon too.