Well-Framed Early Waxing Gibbous Moon, May 2020

Click for full-sized image.

May 30th, 2020, 10:00 p.m. local time

With excellent viewing conditions on this cool night, I took a number of pictures of the Moon with my telescope and iPhone.  I was very pleased with this batch, so much so that I did hardly any touch-ups on the posted image.  This is effectively the raw NightCap TIF with only extremely minor color and sharpness correction.  Even the framing came out nicely with no need to re-crop from the native iPhone NightCap source.

I think a few factors contributed to the quality of this image.  I took special care to try to get the camera mount aligned as best as I could with the eyepiece.  And possibly more importantly, I did not use a Moon filter this time.  Moon filters are intended for viewing, not astro-imaging, and I keep forgetting that, among all the many little tidbits of useful cues I’ve accumulated over the years.  Let your camera/phone do the light exposure reduction, and you’re bound to get a better final picture.

Image settings for reference:

  • 254mm Dobsonian
  • f/1.8
  • 1/1011 sec exposure
  • ISO 24
  • 14.5mm eyepiece (1.25″)
  • No eyepiece filter
  • iPhone XS with NightCap app on eyepiece mount

Moon on May 3rd, 2020

Click for full-sized image.

May 3rd, 2020, 9:35 p.m. local time

Time to start getting the telescopes out more regularly, as the weather warms but is not too warm yet.  I almost thought I would miss the Moon tonight, as clouds started to roll in.  Despite an overall haze, I was able to both observe and take images of the Moon, though little else was visible in the sky except for a few bright stars, like Regulus.

This is a afocal image, i.e. effectively holding my phone next to the eyepiece, with the help of a smartphone mount to clasp onto the eyepiece.

Image settings for reference:

  • 254mm Dobsonian
  • f/1.8
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • ISO 24
  • 14.5mm eyepiece (1.25″)
  • Moon filter on eyepiece
  • iPhone XS with NightCap app on eyepiece mount
  • Touchups in PaintShop Pro and AfterShot Pro