Harvest Moon, 2018

The 2018 Harvest Moon - shot from the front yard with an iPhone XS.

The setup was an 6” telescope shooting through a 32mm eyepiece and f/6.3 Focal Reducer.  Since the eye relief on this eyepiece is pretty poor, I used a universal phone/webcam mount to hold the phone steady at the eyepiece.

1/2 bottle of wine was also useful. 

Steps to Reproduce

  • Take a telescope outside and remove the lens covers
    - Leave it for about 30-45 minutes to acclimate to the relative humidity

  • Open the wine. Drink some.

  • Attach your least-magnified eyepiece to the camera mount

  • Attach your phone to the camera mount

  • Drink more wine.

  • Turn the phone camera app on

  • Point the business end of the eyepiece towards a lightbulb

  • Looking through the phone, adjust the knobs on the universal mount

    • The idea here is to get the barrel of the eyepiece perfectly centered in the frame of the phone/ camera field of view

    • The phone camera lens should be roughly where your eyeball would be in distance if you were looking through the eyepiece

  • Take the eyepiece & phone outside and let it acclimate to the relative humidity

  • Drink more wine, refill your glass (red solo cup, mason jar, skull of enemy warlords or whatever you drink wine from - no judgement here)

  • Align the telescope to the moon and look at it with another eyepiece.

    • It is a pretty awesome rock. But use protection. You are looking at an indirect yet magnified reflection of the sun when you look at the moon. Use a moon filter when directly observing to protect your eyeballs.

    • Moon filter is not necessary for photography but can bring in more details and can prolong your imaging sensor. Long exposures against any reflection this bright, can burn in pixels on most sensors.

  • Put the newly acclimated eyepiece-phone-mount contraption into your telescope

    • Adjust the position to center the moon in the shot.

    • The moon is moving but relatively slowly, you shouldn’t have to worry about active tracking or equatorial alignment. It will take it about 1-2 minutes to creep out of your frame. Plenty of time to point and shoot, adjust, repeat.

    • Looking through the phone, focus through the eyepiece on the phone camera and adjust the telescope focus manually. Use the phone zoom features (if equipped) to manually focus the image through the telescope.

    • AutoFocus on the phone, Manual Focus on the Telescope. No flash.

  • Congratulate yourself with another sip of wine

    • ..and ponder on the awesome science-y things that the moon does for us. it influences the 24 hour day, influences (but not completely) our tides, stabilizes our weather patterns… gives werewolves something to do… You know, science.

    • okay, maybe that’s enough wine. put the telescope up and go to bed.