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    How to photograph the Moon with a Smartphone and a Telescope (Lunar astrophotography for beginners)

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    Hi everyone this is Nico Carver my website is at nebulaphotoscom and today I'm going to show you how to take a sharp picture of the moon with any telescope and your smartphone yes this photo was taken with my iPhone 6s which is a five year old smartphone and this Meade ETX 90 telescope which is not very expensive either you can find it on eBay for under $200 or brand-new for $400 with computerized mount this is a Maksutov Cassegrain design it has twelve hundred and fifty millimeters of focal length to give that person some perspective your smartphone camera has something like 25 or 30 millimeters maybe on the new ones up to 50 millimeters focal lengths so this is many times that you might be wondering well couldn't I just hold my phone up to the moon and then just pinch in until I get there and the answer is no the way that the optics work you're never going to be able to achieve that level of detail with just a digital zoom so you always are going to need something with more focal lengths to get a nice sharp detailed picture of the moon another thing you may have noticed about this photograph is that the moon is only half full why didn't I wait until the moon was completely full to take the picture because then you can see more of the moon right well the problem with that is that when the moon is completely full it means that the earth is right in between the Sun and the moon and the Sun is has it's raised directly onto the moon's face and so if you light something straight on like that you don't get any depth because the lighting is just coming straight on right now I'm lit by the side here and that gives my face some depth and a 3d feeling and the same thing happens with the moon when it's not fully lit straight on like this we get a lot more definition in all these little craters and all the features that really gives it that nice 3d feeling a lot of times when you just look at a picture of a full moon it just looks like sort of like this white disc you can see the features but they're not in high contrast and it's really that contrast and that 3d feeling that gives a picture that feeling of sharpness that's not like the the technical definition of sharpness but it's just what I'm saying it when you people say that's a sharp picture what they really mean is that it has a lot of that high local contrast in the features which are produced by shadows and it's all about the angle of the light so I like taking pictures of the moon when it's in phase this is a third quarter moon or last quarter moon but I also like taking pictures of it when it's in the gibbous phase when it's a little bit more full but not completely full you then get this nice Terminator effect where you can really see the High Definition craters along the edge there all right so how do we actually do it how do we take a picture of the moon with our phone and our telescope well if you've been to like a star party or a stargazing event you'll see a lot of people just trying to hold up their phone to the eyepiece and it's very difficult to get a good picture that way there's two reasons the first is is that it's actually really hard just to find where to put the lens so that it's in the right path for it to pick up what's in the eyepiece it's much easier when we're just putting our eye up to it for some reason because we can just sort of quickly move around our head and the other reason that it's hard to take a picture this way just by holding the phone up to the eyepiece like this is because of our hand and our arm so when you're holding something out like this even if you don't notice it there's really high frequency gear whenever you're holding any kind of weight out and that will make the photo blurry so really what we want is some way to get it at the exact right place and also hold it securely on there and so we can take the photo without the jitter of holding the phone and so that's where devices like this enter and they do a really good job they're usually made out of plastic so they're not super expensive but and they may break over time but they do the job well they're called a universal smartphone adapter and this one is made by Carson it's called the hookups version – and I've used it a few times now it works pretty well I can recommend it I don't know about the durability of it but I know that it does work so the way that it works is you first loosen up this little top piece you then pull open this piece right here and you position your phone in like that with the camera facing out this way but you can see right now my camera lens isn't lined up with that little hole in the middle so what I want to do is just move the phone around a little bit until it is then I'm gonna lock that position into place by pushing this piece down and locking it and if it's not quite centered I can use this little knob down here to Center it in the hole and once I've done that don't worry about getting it like perfectly centered right now because once you put it on the telescope and are focusing on the moon then you can really work on getting it in the right position with this little knob because sometimes the actual correct position is not going to actually be with the lens completely centered there it just all just depends on how it sits on the eyepiece there but then the way it works is you have this already you go out you find the moon with your telescope which I'll get into in a second and then you just take the clamp here you push in you put that over the eyepiece you look at your camera app and you just position it with this little knob you focus with the telescope and you take your picture that's it a really simple kind of Astro photography but you can get really nice results on especially for sharing on social media and things like that other than the challenge of giving the phone on there which this largely solves the other challenge in moon photography is just getting it lined up in the telescope and having it in the field of view long enough so that you can take your photograph and so the first challenge of finding it is sort of the same no matter what kind of telescope you have you're going to have to use probably the little finder scope that comes with your telescope I'm here it's right there on my Dobsonian it's right here and this these usually have a crosshair so you can sort of try to position that in the center and you just look through it and you just move the telescope back and forth until the moon is nice and centered in there even after you do that you might not be centered in the IP so you might have to make smaller adjustments to get the moon centered in the eyepiece once it's in the eyepiece then you can focus and so on this telescope again this is a Meade ETX 90 this little knob right here is the focuser on this telescope which is a Skywatcher Dobsonian you have these bigger knobs to rack the focus in and out alright now we have our picture what are we going to do with it I find that with a smartphone picture like this it doesn't usually need much editing I would just go ahead and share this with whoever you want your family you could put it on your computer and print it out or share it on social media if you did want to do some editing the app that I recommend is called Snapseed it's available on both Android and iPhone and what I would maybe do in Snapseed is just change the contrast and the saturation and maybe the crop I got lucky with the sort of focal length and the eyepiece here that it basically filled the sensor on my smartphone but if if you had a slightly different crop and you wanted to crop it differently you could do that in a program like Snapseed Right, so in this video I showed you how to do photography of the moon with a smartphone and an eyepiece in my next video what I want to do is show you how to do prime focus photography of the moon with a DSLR or mirrorless camera and so for prime focus photography we don't use the eyepiece what we do instead is we get a prime focus adapter and connect it to the telescope directly and the camera becomes the eyepiece basically we don't need to use additional optics the telescope focuses the image directly onto the camera sensor you can get higher resolution that way and a little bit more control by shooting raw or video the reason we shoot video is because then we can what's called freeze the scene seeing is the turbulence in the air and so when you just take a snapshot you may be in a moment where the air is more turbulent or less turbulent you're not really sure when you take a video you can take 30 frames or 60 frames a second and then find those moments where the air is still err and combine those into one super resolution image that's even going to be sharper these are more advanced techniques but if you get interested in lunar photography from this video on I hope you join me for the next one and maybe we can even do a shootout between shooting with the eyepiece and smartphone versus a DSLR at prime focus thanks so much for watching again my name is Nico Carver my website is at nebulaphotos

    com if you like this video and you want to learn more about Astrophotography please subscribe to this channel or support me on Patreon and I wish you all clear skies in 2020!

    Source: Youtube

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